The Allotment, New Cross Road

The Allotment is a new food shop next door to the New Cross House, New Cross Road. Ahead of its opening later this month, we spoke to Gill about her plans:

The main focus of the shop is to sell fresh fruit and vegetables.  As we'll be going to New Covent Garden Market regularly through the week, we can ensure the produce is as fresh as possible, as well as being seasonal.  

We'll also be selling bread, pastries and cakes from Flour Power City Bakery (based in New Cross); free range eggs from Kent farms; cut flowers; chutneys and preserves from local producers; fantastic ice cream from Simply Ice Cream, drinks and juices; cheeses and cured meats; bacon and sausages; fresh olives and antipasti; milk, cream and butter, as well as a range of store cupboard things like pasta, rice, flour, tea & coffee, pulses, tinned tomatoes, oils etc.  

We will be able to respond pretty much immediately to customers' requests, and not just for fresh produce - since our suppliers are mainly small local businesses, we are able to receive orders in a day or two.

I worked in the City for ten years doing admin, then left to start up a garden maintenance business, which I ran for seven years, but as my knees started to get a bit creaky I didn't think I could face many more winters working outside.  I had the idea to open a greengrocer's shop, walked down the road to see if there were any shops to let, and it all went from there.

It took almost a year to finalise the lease on the shop, which was really frustrating, but it gave me more time to research suppliers and increase the range of products we'll be offering.  

Since lease negotiations began, I got a new neighbour, in the form of the New Cross House, which opened in May.  I've spoken with Joe, the manager, a few times and I think our businesses complement each other well.  They offer fantastic food and service, and given that they're packed most evenings and weekends (including when Goldsmith’s was shut!), it's obvious that that's what local people want.

I've lived in New Cross for 15 years and during that time it’s changed a bit, but I wouldn’t want it to change in to East Dulwich, I love New Cross for the fact that there's such a mix of people who live here and some great local businesses. I love the New Cross House, though my heart lies in the Marquis of Granby.  Kismet has a brilliant selection of Turkish food, and Cafe Crema is great for music events.

I've been involved with the campaign against the Sainsburys Local, mainly because I'm fed up seeing endless branches of these supermarkets opening all over the place.  In Sainsbury's case I think it was a political move - if they didn't open the store then Tesco would have.  I think it will have an effect on local shops, particularly those selling the same brands as Sainsbury's, as they can't hope to compete on price.  

Having said that, I'm confident we can become a place where local residents and workers can buy a good percentage of their weekly shop and I think there is a general movement towards supporting independent shops and an appreciation of bespoke customer service.

I want The Allotment to be a place for everyone in New Cross (and anyone else who feels like making the trip).  The last thing I want is for it to be some exclusive, overpriced food store where it all looks pretty but you can't actually find things to make an entire meal from.  Some of the products are towards the higher end of the price bracket, but only because they taste great, and sometimes it's nice to have a few treats. I hope that Goldsmiths students will be an important part of the customer mix, but there are plenty of people who live around this area 12 months a year. Obviously when the college is open, the population swells, but I'm confident we can become a place where local residents and workers can buy a good percentage of their weekly shop.

You can follow The Allotment on Facebook and Twitter.

23 comments:

naomi said...

this all sounds fantastic, i really hope they do a good selection of organic produce! so hard to find organic in the area except for at the market.

Anonymous said...

Is there an opening date yet?

Anonymous said...

Looks good. Hope it doesn't compete with Brockley Market too much. Also hope that Sainsburys or Tesco don't manage to destroy it by opening that new store :-(

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. About time there was a good greengrocer in New Cross.

Morag said...

If it's good quality, good value and open at convenient times (if it closes at 5.30 it doesn't have much hope competing with Sainsburys) then I'm sure it will do well. Sounds like a great selection of produce, looking forward to trying it out.

Caroline said...

Will be a lovely addition to New Cross. I hope that there will be a great selection of normal fruit and veg. Not just pricy organic. I am always so jealous of the great greengrocer they have in Newington Green which everyone in the community uses and really outdoes the supermarket in prices for great quality fresh stuff.

Caroline said...

Will be a lovely addition to New Cross. I hope that there will be a great selection of normal fruit and veg. Not just pricy organic. I am always so jealous of the great greengrocer they have in Newington Green which everyone in the community uses and really outdoes the supermarket in prices for great quality fresh stuff.

mp said...

oh no!!! sainsbury is gonna open soon..lets start a petition to save The Allotment!!!

I heart cupcakes said...

Sounds great but must say I'm a little disappointed in their baked goods choice. Flower Power are based in New Cross but in an industrial unit -they sell at all markets etc. Something different might've been nice. And I'm not just saying that as a pro baker working from home in New Cross!

Gill - The Allotment said...

Thanks for the feedback so far.

We're not focusing on organic produce, which, as some of the comments have said, is pretty expensive. We want to provide good quality fruit and veg, some of which may be organic.
We will be open until 7pm - maybe later - it will be a bit trial and error to start with, but we understand that people will be looking to come in after work.
I kind of understand the comment about Flour Power, although they no longer sell at markets, but their bread tastes great!
Brockley market is a brilliant addition to this area, and I think the more the merrier as far as suppliers of quality produce go.

I heart cupcakes said...

Gill - then I take my comment back. Sorry not been to markets for a couple of months now as work in a bakery all weekend - they used to be at every farmers/food market I went to and their produce suffered I felt. I do agree their bread is nice though.
I've lived in New Cross for about 15 years and your opening is much anticipated in our house. Handy for the pub too!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, have lived in this area for about 4 months and really struggled to find good quality food! (markets are a no-no as I tend to work the days they are on). I will be there with bells on!

Caroline said...

sounds great. love flower power banana cake.

Pete said...

I'm a big fan of Flour Power. What's the issue with them?

Anonymous said...

Competition can only be a good thing,so if it competes with Brockley market so be it.

Deptford Pudding said...

3 Michelin-starred Paul Rhodes has a wholesale bakery in Greenwich as well as his bread shop/cafe in King William Walk. If you want a different supplier, not that there's anything wrong with Flour Power...

Rich & Chris said...

We are really excited about "The Allotment" coming. It will help refresh New Cross High Street and with Gill's passion, we are sure that it will be a great success within the local community. Having lived in New Cross for the last 7 years, we are look forward to choice, rather than what Sainsbury’s sell, being offered on our doorstep

Anonymous said...

New Cross really lacks a good selection of fruit and veg, so this is great news, and the kind of business I will definitely support. Great to hear that it's not all going to be expensive organic - the area has definitely been lacking in a good choice of fruit and veg. Having both the allotment as well as Brockley market will mean that I can get most of my weekly shop done without having to bother with the supermarket, which is further away and has totally overpriced veg.

o said...

Looking forward to it. Bar Kismet (which is great), New X desperately needs this, especially if the emphasis is on being a general quality greengrocer (not a posh deli).

Charlotte said...

This sounds brilliant. Is there an opening date yet?
I'm a student at Goldsmiths, living on New Cross Road and I was wondering who I can contact about the possibility of working here a few hours at the weekend, maybe? I couldn't find a contact number anywhere.

sweet tooth said...

Yes, good luck The Allotment - look forward to the opening.

And o is right, kismet is good too, especially their baklava.

Anonymous said...

We've lived in the new cross area for about 4 years now and it's great to see places like yours popping up. It's thanks to people like you that the area is improving and becoming a more appealing place for us all to live in. Good luck with it and hope it succeeds. We will be visiting you very soon.

Ben from NX said...

A great addition to New Cross Road. The shop looks awesome and the products selection is very good. Well done!

My suggestions:

- write down fruits/vegs origin (UK, Kent, abroad...) next to the prices, because we want to know where they have been harvested. I have no problem to buy Kent potatoes and Costa Rica Pineapples. It's just a matter of balance...

- propose more organic fruit/vegs. I'm sure many people would be happy to pay for the extra cost. It's ashame that the only place to find organic products in the area is sainsbury! (expect farmer markets on weekends)

- hope to see fresh products from local farm soons (as in the Blackheath or Telegraph Hill markets).

- opening late (7pm at least) is a great idea and will attract more people. But it seems to be already the case.

Good luck!!

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