A Celebration of Independent Shops

A paean to independent shops

Something odd keeps happening outside the shop.

I don’t think people notice that, during opening hours, a member of staff is sitting right behind the window, so we see it when people point and peer – it’s great, part of the fun of the job. We get it a lot since we recovered all the old 1920s tiling.

Recently though I’ve noticed something else.  Is there a collective noun for a group of photographers… A shutter of snappers? A motor-wind of moment-catchers? I’ve got it!  A capture of photographers!

We are being captured this summer by memory hunters. I’ve seen a group from the Netherlands wrap arms over shoulders to fit in the frame.  I’ve seen an Australian girlfriend snap her Australian boyfriend in front of our also beaming masthead lights. I’ve seen the holiday shot happen… The family one with one sulky kid on the end who doesn’t want to be in it.

I’ve seen that seemingly modern necessity of life… Selfies have happened here.

So why?  Well, we live in a global age, the upside being that someone in Beijing could read this (admittedly it’s unlikely because mum isn’t in Beijing at the moment); the downside being that the identity of a street can be lost so easily.  You can walk along roads all over the world and find the same brands, even with the same window dressing.

You can go to the other side of the globe and not feel as if you’ve travelled far at all. Understandable then that when we travel, we want to see something different from our norms.

Quirky independent shops are a joy to behold in amongst the predictable frontage of well established chains. Sadly, independent shops can’t always compete with the huge names for rents.

Admire us, but use us or lose us is the message there, I think.

You might suppose then that we wouldn’t want browsing and snapping without purchases. No, not at all. There is always a silver lining to every given situation.  And the gleaming lining around our global society is that we get our portraits posted on social media by people from all over the world.

All the quirky independent shops in Fowey can become individually iconic in their own way. Our visitors advertise us in a way that we can’t.

I love, therefore, not only the wonderful, eclectic array of vintage lighting and vintage clocks hanging in our windows, but also that the tiles of the old butcher’s shop haven’t ever been chipped away; that our front window still has stained glass panels and a huge marble slab in it. I love it when people do feel that they can take pictures outside and come in to browse – because of these actions, the word is spread.

The word of the independents.

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