With a refill station, fresh milk and planters on sale, this Harrogate shop has more on offer than the traditional corner shop greengrocer.
Julia Corbett and James Sore took over Roots and Fruits, on King Edward’s Drive, two and a half years ago and have made it thrive.
The shop front will change throughout the year with pumpkins, Christmas trees and flowers on display, but there always seems to be a steady flow of people popping in to shop and chat.
Coronavirus has of course been a struggle at times, but they adapted to take advantage of soaring demand for home deliveries.
When residents struggled to get in an order at the supermarket during the first lockdown, Julia and James say they were there to pick up the phone and drop off food.
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It’s something the customers appreciate. One even made the bold claim while I was there that it is “the best shop in Harrogate”.
The owners get their just reward for the hard work. In the early days of the pandemic, orders shot up from 50 to 550 each week, meaning they needed to expand their delivery fleet.
Julia explained how the shop front is the face of Roots and Fruits, but the real magic happens in the back, where they pack up delivery boxes:
“So this is Phil. He’s packing the boxes at the moment. In the first lockdown there was a team of seven people packing boxes and bringing in produce.
“This is where we store everything. We had to increase the storage, so it’s all out here now and there’s more in there. In fact, we were packing on the street at one point.
“We deliver to Harrogate, Knaresborough, Birstwith, Hampsthwaite, so we are all over.
“People find us online and through word of mouth. We may be tucked away but people can still find us.”
Since James and Julia took over the business they have focused on reducing the mileage for their produce and cutting the plastic it comes in.
They estimate that they’ve reduced plastic by about 75% in the shop, which they think is a big draw for their more eco-concious customers.
“We re-use everything. We contact suppliers and ask them to reduce plastic. We were the first in Harrogate to have a refill station.
“People come here because they are shopping ethically. We get lots of customers who make new year resolutions to shop with us more.”
This is part of the Stray Ferret’s ‘hidden gem’ series, highlighting small, independent businesses. They need to be tucked away but growing in popularity with an eye-catching and unique product or approach. Send us an email with your nominations.