The picture below shows the shop - the green one is where they sell their groceries, the white one is their bakery. Notice the extra bit of white shop on the right side? That's their extension of bakery.Yassar Halim
When we saw a newspaper cutting stuck to the front window of the shop...
We exclaimed a big "WOW"!!!
Yassar Halim, the very place we get our groceries, is considered as one of the "100 Shops to Visity Before You Die"!!! It ranked along with shops like NikeTown, HMV and Selfridges in Oxford Street, Apple store in Regent Street, etc... Boy, were we proud!
I like the idea of Evening Standard campaigning for small shops, against the giant supermarket chains which always kill all the local business with their megamarkets and unfair price wars. An obvious example would be Tesco, who has not only infiltrated most markets in UK, but expanding overseas into Asian markets. In my own small hometown Sungai Petani, the arrival of Tesco practically killed many of the small groceries stores - they simply couldn't compete with the low-price goods and large-variety-store of Tesco. It is quite sad actually, especially many of the storekeepers are either our friends or relatives.
I don't despise mega stores or chains, but it is some unfair competition to put small shops with giant stores side by side to compete. Well, free market allows the survival of the fittest, but it ignores the softer side of the society - the local culture, the community, the tradition.
For developing urban area with expanding population, it may be all right to put in new mega stores to cater to the growing population demand for a variety of goods and services. But for small towns with dwindling population and small local community, putting a mega store would just saturate the market and squeeze out all the small competitors. Free market competition argument is just not right here, due to the different market setting and sizes.
On the softer side, I personally think that local culture and tradition is important to preserve the local identity of the community. It is those small shops that we always have closer bonds with - we know the owners well, and we chit chat about our lives and take care of one another within the neighbourhood. Doing daily groceries is some enjoyment, having the chance to communicate with our neighbours and friends. In big mega chain stores, such kind of interaction is far less, the services might be more efficient and fast, but do we actually know, and care about those army of workers in the store? Or rather, we just hastily do our weekly shopping and speed off to cater to our much-more-important-things-to-do?
... Perhaps, my thinking has been more old-fashioned.
... Perhaps this is just the thinking of a small-town girl, who has yet to embraced the big-city mindset of not bothering about any other people, but solely minding your own business. But sometimes I do wonder, how do city people feel happy in such kind of environment?