'Brainwashed by big store mentality'

If you don t use it you ll lose it. That s the message from local independent food retailer Elaine Griffin Singh, who has lent her support to the Ely Standard s Keep it Local campaign. A life-long Ely resident, Mrs Griffin Singh told the Ely Standard

If you don't use it you'll lose it." That's the message from local independent food retailer Elaine Griffin Singh, who has lent her support to the Ely Standard's Keep it Local campaign.

A life-long Ely resident, Mrs Griffin Singh told the Ely Standard it was time the mentality changed from nipping into large food stores by car, to having a chat with knowledgeable local retailers.

"People have been brainwashed into this big store mentality, where the supermarket is the answer to everything. By the time you've travelled there, it's not cheaper.

"It is all about being community minded," added Mrs Griffin Singh who is also a member of the Ely Traders' Association.


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"If I don't see a regular customer for a few weeks then I worry - we do free delivery, which is perfect for when you're ill. You're not going to get that in the supermarket."

Her newest business venture, Griffin's Country Store, tucked away on Three Cups Walk, sees a steady stream of customers.

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"It's easy to forget what a friendly place Ely is - if you live here you take it for granted, but we had two ladies who had come down on the train from Lincolnshire and said how nice and friendly all the people they had here met were. Traders have a big part to play in creating a friendly city to visit and to live in."

Elaine's local mentality extends to her food sourcing, too.

A food merchant travels around East Cambridgeshire farms three times a week, picking up local produce such as celery or potatoes for reasonable prices. Whatever can't be found in the area is sourced from Wisbech, which has regular deliveries of food from the fields of the Fens and Lincolnshire which are among the best agricultural areas in the UK.

"Lots of people think they don't have the time to shop in independent stores, but by the time you have queued in Tesco, is it really cheaper and quicker than going to the greengrocer, then the butcher?" she added.

"I'm not going to pretend it's an easy environment for independents at the moment, but what I do know is that my cucumber is bigger, 'Englisher' and cheaper than in one particular supermarket," she giggles.

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