The Shop on The Hill - coming soon...

At the recent Christmas Market, there seemed to be two main topics of conversation - the state of Widow Twanky and The Shop on the Hill; the leaflets for which appeared everywhere that afternoon.

Like "Cloverfield" The Shop on the Hill gave little away in its initial marketing push, choosing instead to tease us with an opaque name (it's not even really on a hill - more a slight incline). Just as Jaws was made all the more scary by the fact we saw so little of the shark for the first half, so The Shop on the Hill was all the more exciting due to the fact that we couldn't work out exactly what it was. We were determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, we were just hoping that it wouldn't turn out to be a rubbery monster with bendy teeth.

The good news is, it sounds more "Fresh and Wild" than Amity Island.

We spoke to the new shop's manager, Nicola, today and this is what she told us:

"The Shop on the Hill will be a wholefoods shop, which also sells health and wellness products for adults and babies as well as a limited range of fresh produce.

"Located next to Chez Ecosium on Harefield Road, The Shop on the Hill will be open between 10am and 8pm on weekdays and 9am and 6pm at weekends.

"My aim is to create a parent-friendly shop that complements other local businesses in the area and offer something new [Nicola told us that a lot of people have asked her if it's going to be 'yet another deli', which in itself is an extraordinary indicator of just how far Brockley's come in a short time]. As much as possible, the products I sell will be locally sourced, organic and fair-trade, with a strong emphasis on ecologically-friendly options.

"I've lived in Brockley for 12 years and I've always wanted to do something like this locally. A couple of years ago, my life changed completely, when I took care of a young child. My experience bringing them up, meeting parents in the local area and having to travel to places like Stoke Newington to find the things I wanted, convinced me that there is a need locally for something like this.

"I've worked for a number of local businesses in my time including Homeview [RIP] and Toads Mouth and I have a lot of friends in the area - the Brockley Mummy network - who've been really supportive.

"Like a lot of people, I've noticed the way that Brockley's changing. There's no doubt that there are more young families in the area than there were a few years ago. I think a lot of people who moved in to the area as students and young professionals have fallen in love with the place, stayed on and many have now started young families. I've even started bumping in to people I used to know, who've moved back to Brockley to start families.

"Even though it will offer a specialist range of products, I hope it will be affordable and versatile enough to become an 'everyday' shop too."

Brockley Central can vouch (based on the time it's taken to find time for an interview) for the fact that Nicola's been working very hard getting ready for the big opening, which she hopes will be this weekend. We look forward to reporting on the finished product, in a few days' time.

50 comments:

Maradoll said...

Thank you Nicola for opening an organic shop so close to us - we look forward to checking it out.

Kate said...

Yay for Nicola, and best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news and well done! There sure is a need for organic baby food in the area!
We've only lived here for a year or so and I would have loved to do what you are doing (how did you survive 12 years without a deli?).

Shed said...

Top banana... Looking forward to some top tofu & quorn action and hopefully it'll save me my run to East Dulwich. All i need now is a decent barber and a respectable fashion emporium. All the best to Nicola

Monkeyboy said...

'Wellness products' that's sure to anoy some of the old timers. Personally I make do with a bar of soap, Sainsbury's shampoo and a spot of deodorant if I'm trying to impress the ladies.

I have started to moisturise though - am I a metrosexual? discuss.....

Brockley Sarah said...

Depends what you're moisturising! ;0)

Monkeyboy said...

There's no need to be mucky!

Anonymous said...

this all sounds very promising will look forward to trying it out!

Scoobydoo said...

I went into the shop on the hill the other day for the first time,and firstly I was impressed with the wide variety of products available.However I was not over keen on the prices,I mean nearly four quid for a bag of spinach?

The ranges are quite good,some of which is quite difficult to find,I would not say it's the friendliest service I have had,first impressions last on me,Maybe It's because I have previously worked in hospitality,and canno't bear unfriendly service,that's a personal gripe of mine,I tend not to go back to a place if It's not friendly,which is why I will most likley not return here.Good luck with the shop though,more and more are springing up in brockley,it is really fantanstic for our area!

Anonymous said...

Would The Shop on the Hill be looking around for part time help from a student just down the road? :)

The Pirate King said...

Have to say I totally disagree with the comment about their pricing being wrong or the service being unfriendly - I think the organic veggies are a godsend and have got me back into cooking fresh food in a big way that I couldn't really do with the previous selection around here.

As for unfriendly service, are you sure you're not confusing the shop for somewhere else? I'm very surprised by that - whenever I've gone in I've been greeted with a smile, the staff know my name and will have a chat and a laugh with me, which I love. Not to say you didn't find it unfriendly, just to chime in that my experience was very different to yours!

Headhunter said...

Dropped into Shop on the Hill last weekend and was pleasantly surprised. Will certainly go back an do some shopping there. Was impressed that they stock organic unsweetened soy milk which I have come to enjoy rather than traditional cows. Unusual to find it unsweetened - most manufacturers seem to feel the need to pile loads of sugar or sweetener into soy milk rather than leave its natural flavour...

Pete said...

Isn't the natural flavour of soy milk rather like the taste of soil?

Anonymous said...

Just been into the shop on the hill and have to say I was really blown away by the quality & range on offer. Also I found the service to be incredibly helpful and friendly, it's such a pleasure to be able to shop locally instead of having to treck to Tescos. It's great that we now have a place like this in Brockley to be able to go to & buy fresh organic & wholefood products. I'll definitely be going back for more!

Headhunter said...

Soil?! Not exactly! It's got quite a nutty, creamy taset if yuo ask me but perhaps my taste buds are up the creek! I certainly prefer it to the saccharine sweetness of the sweetened varieties anyway...

Anonymous said...

have to disagree (partially) with Scoobydoo, only been once but service friendly and althoguh I was the only customer she didn't 'jump' at me as so often happens but was very pleasant when I went to the till. Prices were a bit more than I was expecting though.. but the houmous is gorgeous and not something you'll find on the shelves of Costcutter!

Anonymous said...

Thew shop on the hill does the most delicious houmous. ive just eaten a whole bowl with sime pitta. good job i dont have to talk to anyone for the rest of the day.

yaxu said...

I'm not impressed with the range and prices of the Delis, but the shop on the hill is great - really good to be able to buy fresh vegetables locally.

Anonymous said...

Shop on the hill is ace. Just what we need in Brockley. Great to be able to get quality food & organic fruit & veg locally. Friendly service too. Thanks loads.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

im quite a big fan of dandelion blue, go there once a week and spend about a tenner. I love the bread and the olives :o). I've noticed degustation has started to do a similar thing, abit of a copy if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

I think they all keep a close eye on each other, especially the areas where they overlap. Market forces at work. They could, of course, all be blown out of water if one of the posher supermarkets opens up around here.

Anonymous said...

I case you didn't notice pudding and pie DEGUSTATION was open a couple of months before Dandelion and has always had fresh bread and olives - things pretty typical of any deli...blogs are important but dangerous owing to people being able to interpret their own version of events and use it as a tool to talk out of their arses! I think people should support all local businesses -I shop in all three of the new shops and feel like they all provide something interesting...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I used to go to degustation all the time before dandelion blue, never saw fresh olives or the wide selection now on offer. Tell me, were they hiding behind the counter??

Hugh said...

Am I alone in getting my fresh bread and olives delivered by Tesco or bringing them back from Borough Market if I've been in town at the weekend?

I always find local delis overpriced and selling stuff that's no better than what supermarkets offer.

I don't mind bigging up the hood and the profile rise that new delis etc. bring, but I find all this eulogising a bit overdone.

There's a theme of breathlessness developing on here to the effect that Brockley-as-the-new-Clapham is just around the corner.

Chinny reckon.

Brockley Nick said...

@Hugh - we're lucky to have Borough Market within easy reach, but the convenience and simple pleasure of having three high-quality food shops round the corner, rather than needing to jump on a bus or rain or in to a car to get anything nice to eat is fantastic.

As for being no better / different to what's on offer to Tesco, we must shop at different branches.

Brockley the new Clapham? You're quite right, it isn't.

Anonymous said...

Getting breathless about the west side cafe - any info Nick?

Anonymous said...

Hugh - True -But nobody would ever get breathless thinking about Ealing.....

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think the quality at the local deli's are similar to borough market but the prices are cheaper. I.e. the bread supplier is identicial' to the market stalls at borough, but about 50p cheaper per loaf.

Tom said...

Personally I find Borough market rather odious. Not the food, but the prices and what they infer.

I once did a shop for a single meal at the market and spent £37!

Am liking Dandelion Blue at the moment - friendly service and comparatively reasonable prices. Degustation staff seem rather rude whenever I go in there.

Brockley Nick said...

Rude? Really? I think they're lovely.

Anonymous said...

They always seem very pleasant to me.

Tom said...

I am glad that others have had better experiences! I was in there on Saturday and it was really like being in France. And not in a good way!

Anonymous said...

I've never found the staff in Degustation rude.

What's more, given that there seem to be about 4or so different members of staff in there at different times (and only one at any one time), it seems a bit unfair to refer to them collectively.

Tom said...

I can only relate my own experiences, as can others here.

I have been served by two or three different people in there and have never had a smile.

And from the behaviour of one or two of the customers on Saturday, some people seem to like the elitist atmosophere. Of course I'm supportive of a new venture, I just haven't had any good experiences there.

Pete said...

Elaborate!! What did the customers do?

Hugh said...

Nick said:

'@Hugh - we're lucky to have Borough Market within easy reach, but the convenience and simple pleasure of having three high-quality food shops round the corner, rather than needing to jump on a bus or rain or in to a car to get anything nice to eat is fantastic.'

Two things:

1. try shopping online. They deliver to your door;

2. for most people in Brockley the new shops are a lot further than round the corner.

Brockley Nick said...

@hugh - I do shop online (tesco's service is particularly poor) but just as I wouldn't do my weekly shop at degustation, nor do I go impulse buying online. And "round the corner" was figurative. For someone like you, a stroll through the conservation area is a pleasure in its own right, no?

Tom said...

Pete - a customer started discussing wine with the shopkeeper and kept on referring to elements of the wine's characteristics in French. The customer was not French.

It was very pretentious and made me start talking about the pate as "pait".

Hugh said...

Nick, would you be interested in delivering stuff from the local delis to my door? Packet of Quavers in it for you.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

It sounds like the owner was doing his job. To describe the wine's characteristics in French isn't pretentious - the guy IS French. At worst it might be a little mis-judged but it's possible the French have words to describe wine that have no literal translation. I think you would have had a better experience if you'd left the chip (or frite) on your shoulder outside, and listened to what he was saying, you may have learnt something.
P

Anonymous said...

Oh God Tom, was that it?
Grow up mate.

Tom said...

Thanks for your anonymous abuse guys! But if you have something interesting to say, please feel free to share it.

(And if you'd read what I wrote, rather than reacting to it, you'll notice you've got your facts wrong.)

A local shop has to offer a customer experience if it is to keep people coming back. And the real experiences I've had, with money in hand ready to spend, have done little to make me do that.

Others are likely to have different experiences (for one thing, I've never been served by the owner of the shop).

Anonymous said...

fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go round.

Anonymous said...

in tom's defense, i've had a similar experience. Wanted to buy a couple bottles of wine to thank someone; wanted them to be a bit 'special', so, visited my local specialty wine store. the shop assistant - working on her own on a Saturday - hadn't actually tasted any of them, and couldn't tell me anything about them! I would have been better off with the patronising labelling at tesco's, versus Degustation where there was zero info on the labels. I vowed to shop there only when the owner's in.

Bea said...

I am a regular customer at all three new shops (SOTH, Degustation & Dandelion Blue) and have yet to have had a bad experience. The staff (whether owner or not) are all helpful and informative - although I have backed out of Dandelion Blue once as it was too busy to get served - but that was when it had just opened.

Augustine (Degustation) has been very helpful when choosing wine and never pretentious! Nicky (SOTH) has frequently offered to supply something I have requested but is not currently stocked.

The prices are a little higher than usual but I am willing to pay for that as the quality is better too.

Tesco’s online is totally unreliable – deliveries made either too early or too late (rarely on time) and their “Finest” range ain’t always that fine. Waitrose (Ocardo) have an excellent service and the quality is good too but the price is on a par with the new shops at Brockley station.

Doh! said...

On balance I like both for treats but not a big shoping trip...but Dandelion Blue is a little like a foodie theme shop rather than a proper deli.

Can't really put my finger on it, maybe it needs a good year to bed down and stop looking like a Nigella cook book cover.

Hugh said...

Funny - Tesco always deliver what I order and on time.

Then again, I favour capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Disappointed you use Tesco Hugh. Ocardo is distinctly more palatable.

Bea said...

Hugh - maybe Tesco have got their act together since I last used them - over a year ago now. However, when I did there was invariably the wrong food, someone else’s bag, or out of stock substitute in my delivery. And my neighbours either took in the delivery an hour early - so the frozen food stuff was melting nicely or I ended up staying up till 11:30 pm to wait for what should have arrived at 8.00 pm.

In contrast Ocado were excellent - always on time and everything in my order as it should have been. The one time there was an item missing I got a free bottle of wine.

I have nothing against free market economics / capitalism either as it gives me the choice to either buy at Tesco or locally.

Anonymous said...

The shop on the hill, will be doing free local delivery from Jan 2010. So it has joined the ranks of Ocado.

Please support BC by clicking here when you shop with Amazon

Brockley Central Label Cloud