The Shop on the Hill closes

As a sad counterbalance to the news that El's Kitchen will open soon, The Shop on the Hill health food and convenience store on Harefield Road has closed.

In a text message sent to some of her customers last night, proprietor Nicola confirmed that she has closed the shop.

A relaunch had been planned but has now been cancelled. Until its closure, the Shop on the Hill continued to sell a range of products unavailable elsewhere in Brockley and attracted a loyal following. Good luck to Nicola in her next venture.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a shame. Good luck to Nicola.

Monkeyboy said...

It's a bugger, was being just of the main drag an issue? Of all the posh food shops that have opened around here Degustation is the one I've always found to sell the stuff I want most. Saturated fats, it's the future.

Christine said...

NO! :(

Now where will I get my Ecover refills?

Sad day for Brockley indeed.

Anonymous said...

It will be missed. Good luck to Nicola.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame but I'm not surprised, it used to sell all kinds of things I wanted, this slowly dropped off and then it was never open. Closed in the evenings, for lunch and over the summer all day - you can't run a business like that. Still sad though.

Bea said...

This is so sad! But I wish Nichola all the best for the future!

Agree it used to have many interesting and delicious things I wanted but recently whenever I enquired if they had the same again they had run out of stock / it had not been delivered.

Also felt that towards then end the shop front / window display area was lacking. Perhaps it seemed less interesting from the outside for a casual passer-by?

Anonymous said...

Didn't sell fried chicken so I never went.

Anonymous said...

Christine:

Daz/Persil etc. can be bought from most supermarkets. Own brands are often good too, Sainsburys do a good one.

DJ said...

Thank you Little and Large. Don't call us...

Good luck Nicola said...

Great shame, perhaps just a year too soon. (nice evening standard Photo of the area tonight.) Best of luck to Nicola fo her next venture.

Lady said...

that is very sad. I would count myself a loyal supporter spending a wee fortune in there on a regular basis. But I agree with the earlier comment, I did wonder what had happened to the front of the shop of late - and actually I didn't like the ticking off I sometimes got for still shopping in costcutter. I was hoping to see Nicola again soon, waiting for the relaunch - I know she wanted feedback from customers and I never had the chance to stop by when she was there recently. this kind of shop has to have a market in Brockley. I wonder what her verdict is on what went wrong. Better luck to her for the next venture.

Zoe said...

I also shopped there before moving to Honor Oak. It's such a shame to hear that she's had to close. I also got my Ecover and olive oil refills from her as well as some other bits I consistently bought. Like some of the other commenters, the few times I tried to pop in this summer, no one was in. I didn't realise it was a sign of hard times. I wish Nicola every success and appreciate what she brought to SE4 while the Shop on the Hill was open.

Anonymous said...

no no no- very sad. best to the best in brockely- nicola- we will miss you...sophdrewellamax

Anonymous said...

I suspect shops like this need to be larger and on a main shopping street.

The other day, I happened across an health food supermarket on the Kingland Road that seemed successful. It was a fair size and carried a lot of product lines. At the checkout I chatted with a lady who explained that they had three main types of customer: anarchist vegan students, website designers on silly money and city types on their way to their boltholes looking for a healthy supper. They also had a basement used for yoga classes and other health oriented classes.

I remarked that in Brockley it was mainly a family and yummy mummy customer base.

I guess this might be relevant. Single folk with high disposable incomes working in the area offered a healthy option. Versus car owning families who doubtless also shop at large supermarkets visiting a local speciality shop.

The local market clearly was not big enough to support this business. It would have to attract folk from outside the area and would have to be large and in a more prominent location.

Brockley, despite its high population density, has only a few minor shopping parades largely oriented towards convenience shopping.

Convenience stores and supermarkets also adapt to demand and can also carry health and organic lines and so compete. To between squeezed between the two is not a good place to be.

It is a pity that this business has gone. I enjoyed visiting the shop, it had personality and the staff were helpful and knowledgeable and it carried some products that were difficult to find.

I wish Nicola well, we need more people in Brockley who are prepared to take a risk and start ventures that enrich the area. Some will surely succeed, find a market and thrive.

The Oracle said...

Nicola is an unsung hero.

Some time back she stepped in to stop her three little nephews being taken into care. This woman must have known that to make such a sacrifice her business would suffer. And yet she did it.

Good luck, Nicola. You are a remarkable person. And Brockley will be all the more impoverished to lose you.

musing said...

Sad news, I still miss Dandelion Blue too, wonder why these shops come and go, is it us or the proprietors or both???

DJ said...

Well said The Oracle. Nicola is a lovely woman. Best of luck to her for the future.

Brockley Nick said...

There's no mystery about Dandelion Blue - the owners moved to Scotland and it became Browns of Brockley, which is in my view, a better business.

With regards to this place we don't know the reasons and I won't speculate on them, but we don't need to assume they are economic.

Businesses come and go, I am not sure that Brockley is exceptional in that respect.

With regards to the spot, I think it's a good one, right next to the orchard, visible from the high street and very near the station.

Anonymous said...

Spotted French lemonade for sale in one of our local deli's around £2-00 more per bottle than same in shoreditch deli!

Lady said...

Now Nicola is not there I have started to use the Broca over the bridge for all my unusual bits (which probably make up most of my shopping actually) and also delicious fresh produce too. hmm I am not a city worker, or a website designer, or an anarchist (tho I am a 31 yo vegan - perhaps that's anarchy enough for this website, who knows!) Anyway I do think there is a market for this kind of shop here in Brockley, and while the Broca stays open I think it proves it - a shop definitely not on the beaten track. Fingers very very crossed that the Broca is doing well enough to survive. I need its fresh veg!

The Oracle said...

I don;t know why you say that we don't know the reasons, Nick. or that it is speculation.
Nicola had to step in to bring up three children that suddenly fell into her lap due to an illness in the family.
Yes she knew that she had to revisit her thinking on the shop and the road ahead. Clearly she felt she could not take on both tasks. AN ADMIRABLE BUT SAD LOSS.

Brockley Nick said...

@Oracle - let me rephrase, that. I meant that I'm fairly sure Nicola wouldn't particularly want people on this site discussing her personal life.

Deptford Dame said...

Ecover refills can be had at the Organic shop in Greenwich (also I think at Sheel pharmacy in Lewisham which is presumably closer for Brockelyites).

StopTescos said...

Shame,but unfortunately this is what happens when not enough local people support small shops.

Brockley Nick said...

@StopTescos - no it isn't, as The Oracle has divulged.

Anonymous said...

Really sad news. Good luck to Nicola in whatever she does next.

M said...

Definitely a sad loss. Perhaps someone else will step in and take it on as, I'm assuming, it was doing ok before Nicola's change of circumstances.

Monkeyboy said...

I do shop local but to be capitalist (with a small 'c') for a moment. Shops, big or small, no matter how worthy or unique, have to attract customers - the onus is on them. No one shops out of sympathy with the owner, blaming the consumer makes no sense

I accept that there may be other reasons in this case.

quick brown fox said...

I really wanted to support the Shop on the Hill, and did occasionally go in there and buy the odd thing, but I just didn't find enough reasons to go in regularly.

A real shame for Brockley that it's gone, though, and I wish Nicola all the best for the future.

THNick said...

Anon at 20:43 - I think I've been to that shop as well - it has a remarkable range of some things but also surprisingly small range in other areas.

Also, where are the vegan students and city types of brockley shopping if not at places like this?

who? what? where? said...

I've not step foot in Browns since it opened, I dont even know what it sells.

Zoe said...

In other business closure news, Betram [sic] Bakery on Brockley Rise is completely empty and shuttered. Brockley Nick I'd be curious to know what you feel makes Browns of Brockley "a better business." I loved Dandelion Blue personally, shopped there at least once a week and found the selection great and the owners really friendly. It wasn't cheap but I felt it was worth it. Browns has gotten a lot of positive support on this blog, but the few times I've gone there I've found there was hardly anything on offer, what was there was overpriced - sometimes higher than the same goods at Borough Market, which is saying something - and the staff unhelpful and dismissive. Also, I was informed their lease didn't allow coffee provision (though it wasn't enforced) so one of their main offerings never struck me as very community spirited given the Broca's right next door. I'm not advocating anyone get exclusive rights to sell hot drinks, but I am an advocate of shopping locally where people show some degree of courtesy toward customers. Willing to be convinced. Have I missed something?

Brockley Nick said...

I don't think the fact that the Broca sells coffee is relevant, especially with another coffee place in the station itself. I can guess who informed you of that though ;)

I felt that Dandelion Blue stocked a lot of stuff that they never sold, so it appeared that they had a lot of stuff, but really very little that I would ever actually want to buy. Browns still sells the nice stuff that used to be sold there, but has added some tasty basics, like great bagels. Plus, it does the nicest coffee around.

Even though it gets squashed in there, people obviously enjoy hanging out there, which they couldn't do at DB.

I don't think I've said a great deal about Browns really.

Mondee said...

I've hardly been to Browns but only because I'm rarely by the station these days, but the coffee I have had there is by far the best in Brockley, and certainly much better than the stuff they serve in Broca. And Ross is actually very community minded as I understand it - there have been various stories on this site of him helping out other local businesses.

Anonymous said...

Browns has the best coffee and wifi and there is less space for the place to be overrun by buggies.

They are drawn next door to the Broca with its child friendly facilities.

A fine arrangement in my opinion.

TheOracle said...

Fair point, BrockleyNick.

The only reason why I mentioned Nicola's situation is out of a sense of frustration,for her. She was hugely committed to Brockley and the success of her business. She realised that she needed to fine tune in certain areas, but fate did not,in the end,allow. I for one would place my money with such a person if the need arose, and for the right venture.

Anonymous said...

oh dear we just weren't shopping there enough...

Anonymous said...

Thankyou to everyone for sharing both positive and otherwise..I am grateful to all of you who took the time to comment..I take it all on board absolutely! My life had changed incomprehensibly and as such couldn't realistically continue...I do have another little ditty up my sleeve..this is the beginning of so much more..love and best wishes..I won't ever give up doing and being what I believe in. Thanks to each and every one of you..no hard feelings here at all..( big shout out to oracle whoever you are) xxxx nicola the shop - currently in a van!!!!!

Brockley Central Label Cloud