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One thing that this pandemic has shown us is that once someones mentions a ‘shortage’, be it toilet rolls, pasta or fuel, there is an urgent rush to the store to get that item, whether it’s really needed or not.  The days of pre-planning the weekly shop seem to have disappeared, when shoppers would wander up the high street with a list popping in and out of their favourite independents purchasing good quality produce.

Many independents in Chislehurst launched during the pandemic, with exceptionally high quality goods such as fresh fish from the mornings catch at Fish Union London, delicious home made treats and Italian goodies from Joelles of Chislehurst, fresh produce from Allganic and Moore and Burlington BR7.  People shopped there as many items in the supermarket weren’t available or that people wanted to avoid the crowds.  These businesses then thrived and truly made Chislehurst what it is, a unique town of specialised shops.  Some would say that it is more expensive to shop at independents for food items, but if you want really good quality and want to enjoy a special dish a few times a week, then it is worth it.  Maybe substitute some of the items you have from your supermarket shop?

Many local towns like Orpington, Bromley or Sidcup have ‘chains’ – and they are easily accessible by car or bus.  These towns thrive and have their place for daily shopping, but it doesn’t make them special.  Chislehurst has a village feel to it with such character.   It is a small town, with history,  that is surrounded by woodland and ponds, locals who know each other and numerous volunteer groups who work hard to keep the area look fabulous.

Christmas is coming and following a very low key one last year, now is the time to plan and make this a family and friends occasion.  Start shopping early for gifts on the High Street, Annabel’s Emporium and Wrattens have beautiful gifts suitable for the whole family, Cook and Matthews have all sporting equipment and experts on hand to talk to you about them, a fine selection of Ales from The Cockpit (for yourself or as gifts!), flowers from Roses or Bloxhams for table displays or to take as a gift for a host, so many options!  Speak to the team in Fish Union, who can help you with fish recipes and even cooking classes!  Ask Joelle at Joelles of Chislehurst what she recommends to keep in your store cupboard for those visitors who just turn up unexpectedly.  Larder is also coming to Royal Parade, so you will need to pre-order your Christmas Turkey (apparently there will be a shortage this year – DON’T PANIC!).

We’ve lost this year a grocer, butcher and refill store, let’s not lose any more and become an ordinary town. One thing our independents like to do is chat – so pop in and see what they can offer.

Keep Chislehurst unique.  You can still do your major shop at a supermarket, but don’t lose what we do have, and that is a truly fabulous town.