Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells up for country’s best deli award
A combined bookshop, café, delicatessen and homeware shop in St Boswells is in the running to be named Scotland’s Shop of the Year.
Main Street Trading Company in St Boswells has been named one of six finalists in the Guild of Fine Food’s Scotland’s Shop of the Year awards.
Owners Bill and Rosamund de la Hey opened the business a decade ago, originally as a book shop and cafe, before adding the deli and home section in 2012.
“The very nature of our shop is that we are a unique combination of different departments which I think creates a really good shopping experience,” Bill said. “That’s what really drives the shop. It gives people ideas in the shop and spending across a whole spectrum.
“This competition was geared at the food side of the business. It’s a good way to make you look at your business in general and see what you could be doing better.”
Mainstreet Trading Company is in the running in the best deli and grocer category and is one of 45 finalists UK-wide.
“The food side of the business is integral,” Bill added. “When we first opened it was just the book shop and cafe.
“We thought, being where we are, we needed the cafe bringing people in rather than just books alone.
“I feel that we have created this unique shopping environment.”
And it’s the deli’s expansive cheese counter where Bill’s main interest lies.
“That’s my great passion in the deli side of things,” he said. “We want to get the best cheese we can get and find the best product to convey to the customer.
“Ros and her team on the book side choose their books from daily meetings with publishers and reps.
“On the food side of the business I get the same help from my team.” Bill is joined in the deli and home ware store, which site just behind the main bookstore in the village’s Main Street, by a team of three full and part-time staff. The business employs 22 staff across the board.
Having had a written entry reviewed by a panel of respected industry experts, Main Street Trading will now undergo an announced visit from one of the judges and a mystery shop carried out by Insight6.
Bill added: “One of things that really links the whole business together is we have identified the life cycle of a cook book.
Ros and co choose the cook books and we make on book of the month or moment. We take some of the recipes from that book and make them to serve in the cafe for a while.
“We then stock any unusual ingredients in that dish within the deli and link it up with some interesting goods in the home ware section to serve it with.
“That creates a link across the whole business.”
“Add in our mega events programme including foods things, book signings and up dinners with chefs and we can attract different audiences.
“We have a lot of regular customers who have been a great strength to us and the tourism factor is something we do well from as well. We get regular returning tourists.”
Previously forming part of the Great Taste accreditation scheme, Shop of the Year is now a standalone accreditation, offering independent retailers a recognised stamp of approval from industry experts.
The winners will be announced at an event in Harrogate on Monday, March 11.