The Wigston Deli is bringing the traditional corner shop back, providing the community with locally sourced products. Sean Dudley spoke to owner Pratik Master to find out more.
When Pratik Master was asked to help sell the shop his father leased in 2018, he had plenty of tips and guidance for prospective buyers. So many, in fact, that he took the decision to practice what he preached and take over the shop with his partner Bee.
The new venture presented a major opportunity: to provide locally sourced products to more and more people.
“I knew plenty of local suppliers from working in the restaurant trade, so when we were considering launching the deli, I made some calls. I got to 35 suppliers before one said they wouldn’t be able to supply the shop, and that was because they didn’t have the capacity. It was obvious to me that there was a real opportunity here.”
Wigston Deli has been supporting local producers and showcasing their items to a new audience ever since.
“We took on the mantle of the local community shop and became a little haven. We wanted to give local products a platform, and during Covid when there were supply issues generally, we didn’t have any! Local products are something people don’t need to worry about being out of stock because the personal connections are there.”
The shop has a motto of ‘Not Just a Corner Shop’, and Pratik’s commitment to supporting the local community allows this to ring true. “Because of how communities have broken down, the classic corner shop has broken down too. We’re trying to rebuild that. We’ve just built some picnic benches outside the shop for example, allowing people to relax and talk together.”
Pratik and Bee are always up for trying something new to help develop that community aspect.
“We’ve had pizza, curry and sushi nights – all using local products. This allows customers to preorder and get something they wouldn’t otherwise have had, in a place that is local and convenient to them.”
Christmas is set to be a big time for Wigston Deli, with personalised hampers crammed full of local products always a big seller. “You can order high-quality local products, while also giving people something nice at the same time. We did 140 hampers in December last year, and we are hoping to exceed that this year for sure.”
For Pratik and Bee, it’s not so much about wanting customers, but wanting community.
“This is where we differ from your typical corner shop. We like to be proactive, helping people attain products and get§ the items they really want from a local source. Our whole premise is based on giving people the chance to engage and socialise with each other, and we believe if you build it, they might come!”
Find out more at www.notjustacornershop.com