People are ace, really. The news would have you believe otherwise, but they are. Which is not to dismiss the horrors of this year. Actual Horrors in Actual Positions of Horrific Power. We are aware of lots of the horrors, perhaps too unaware of others. Even Charlie Brooker is not doing his usual Screenwipe of 2017, which I’m assuming would be because it would be him just shrugging incredulously at a camera.
I’d love to believe that 2018 is the year we turn it all around, but I think that draws false lines under something that is a constant journey, of good people doing small things to make the place they live better. History is not a linear story, it is tangled, chaotic and made up of tiny sparks which set off larger events. A simple New Year’s resolution of ditching your plastic water bottle, refusing plastic straws at the bar or ditching disposable coffee cups could inspire someone you know to do the same. And so on.We live in a world populated by crazy humans, there will undoubtedly always be something horrible happening. But equally, there will always be people doing good things. They just don’t often shout as loud.
Anyway, on a personal level, we have seen time and time again the goodness of folk in the set up of our business. It’s been a strange year for us, and we never expected to have a shop at this point. By way of welcoming in the new year, we wanted to thank everyone who has helped us get started, and remind people in the process that people can be fucking ace
A list of marvellous humans:
- Bunburys pub on Chorley Old Road. They literally just gave us their space every Saturday morning so we could practice trading with our pop-up shop. As a now shop-owner myself, I have to say, I think that takes a fair amount of trust and goodwill.
- Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton. What a business this is. (And the BBC Food and Farming award agrees!) I attended a free “Grow a Grocery” day there earlier this year and got to see the inner workings of the most successful ethical businesses in the country. They have also been very patient with my many emails asking advice since then!
- The Glass Onion Grocery in Westhoughton. I popped in here just a for a little nosy before we opened our shop, but Chris, the owner was ace. As a new business owner himself, he was happy to share advice on till systems, ordering etc. Would highly recommend a visit if you are near Westhoughton.
- Charlie’s Cheese (and veg) Stall- A wonderful gem of Bolton Market; Charlie was happy to meet with us when we were looking at how to set up our business.
- Village Greens in Prestwich. This is a truly lovely co-op, and again, would highly recommend a visit. I only popped in to have a nosy at the dried food dispensers but one of the staff then happily answered my questions and showed me their store room.
- Organic North Wholesalers. They very kindly lowered their “minimum spend” for us whilst we were trialling the business and have continued to be very friendly and supportive.
- Pop up Business School– These guys are legends and if you can get on one of their courses, I highly recommend. Lisa and I attended for a week when they came to Bolton when we were getting our ideas together. Their mantra of just start by “selling something to someone” kicked our arses into gear.
- John, from Edwards Genesis Surveyors– They used their community fund to help us when arranging the shop lease, and John has been supporting us ever since!
A list of less marvellous humans:
- BES utilities! Avoid, avoid, avoid. ( A long story in which an over-tired Emily gets conned into a 10 year contract)
But as you can see, on balance, people are ace.
Lisa and I have a lot to learn, and I’m sure we will make many mistakes on the way. But, I can also promise that we will always look at the best possible way of doing fair business and helping to build a strong community. We can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring, and to meet new people in the process.
Have a good one folks,
Emily and Lisa