Sunday, 6 June 2010

A Little Piece of History

The Tesco store in St Albans' high street was the very first self-service Tesco, and has been trading since 1951. Today this little piece of history closed to make way for this new store just a few doors down, on the much bigger ex-Woolworths site.

In the meantime, just a few doors in the other direction, this shop has closed this week due to high rent and low support.

It was a lovely shop, providing all kinds of produce from around Hertfordshire - with notices giving details of the manufacturers and how far away the items were made - as well as a smattering of recycled, organic and fairtrade goods from further afield. It makes me a little sick that a shop like this, focusing solely on benefitting the local community and the environment, should be driven out by high rent. Shouldn't councils support places like this?? But I'm afraid I'm just as guilty as most of not giving it the support it needed. The trouble is, most of the products places like this stock are speciality 'made' products, like jams and pickles, meat pies, fancy cakes, sauces, and expensive bottled drinks - and I'm just not a big buyer of these things. Sadly, though they did stock a few basics such as local milk, eggs and bread, their meat and veg selection was never very impressive.

The new Tesco store, on the other hand, is boasting that it will supply more "locally sourced British produce". And most residents are rejoicing that Tesco will now NOT be building a much bigger superstore on the edge of town.

Meanwhile, the old store joins a lengthening row of shops sitting empty on the high street.

St Albans has a lot going for it. Sadly the shopping is not one of those things.

At least we still have our twice-weekly market, which always packs the town centre!


Robert said...

I've only visited St. Alban's once, on the way to a conference with the wife. It was a slightly weird experience which included a skinhead gesturing at us as we sat in a restaurant, and doing a monkey dance on the pavement! Doubtless it's not all like that.

Birmingham's full of empty shops as well, for the same reasons. It's not new; the markets have been going downhill for twenty years due to rising rents.

Nome said...

Ha! No, not all like that I promise!

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