Welcome to A Longer Table
6 High Street, Kirriemuir, Angus, DD8 4EY
Our motto is ‘’if you have more than you need , build a longer table not a higher fence’’
The author of this quote is anonymous, but for us the meaning in the message is that the way to care for the world and all its inhabitants is to share not only material things, but also all of our knowledge and resources for the benefit of everyone.
We wanted to create a project which would enable us to contribute to slowing down climate change, helping people to reduce single use plastic packaging and food waste in and around Kirriemuir.
We are are a registered community interest company (SC659517) a ‘not for personal profit’ social enterprise. We are a zero plastic waste and refill retail grocery shop selling grocery basics such as loose grains, pasta , pulses, baking ingredients, in season Scottish grown fresh vegetables, artisan breads and ecologically friendly household and personal care products. Where possible we give preference to local growers and suppliers.
Towards the end of 2019 we carried out market research and an online survey to find out what local folk wanted our project to deliver. We drew up a plan for a zero waste refill shop with a social space, book swap area and several other ideas.
We were awarded a Firstport social enterprise £5000 Start It grant, and held a short Crowdfunding campaign to give us our initial capital. In March 2020 we agreed our High Street premises lease - the same week that the first Covid 19 lockdown was enforced. We hesitated, then decided that as it was only going to be an expected 12 week ‘fire break’ to prevent the spread of the disease that we would carry on as far as we could. We kept to our ‘bubble’ and spent the next few weeks fitting out the shop ourselves with the predominantly recycled materials which we had already acquired - and as time progressed and we realised how long there were going to be limits on the movement of people, we brought forward the development of our online shop and local delivery service for food and essential household items. All achieved without compromising our ‘no single use plastic packaging’ principles.
Our 6 High Street shop opened in July 2020, allowing people to shop locally in line with the Covid regulations but still being able to make choices regarding food packaging and buying only what is needed in order to reduce waste. We felt very strongly, and still do, that despite the world crisis, it was no time to take our eye off the ball and sideline our efforts to combat climate change.
Since then we have grown slowly and step by step increasing our range of stock, mostly in response to our customers needs and suggestions. We budget carefully as we believe that constant dependency on grants is not the way we wish to survive. It is important to us that we generate enough income to remain economically viable with any profits feeding back into the company to support the community.
We introduced a loyalty card scheme for regular customers, which when completed is redeemable with a cash value against future shopping. We also run a discount card for all families with Primary School age children in the Kirriemuir and Glens area.
By offering these incentives we hope to support customers who may have previously thought that making environmentally friendlier shopping choices was beyond their budget.
We enjoy working with others and we have collaborated with Sustainable Kirriemuir on a couple of their projects: We continue to be an outlet for their Community Garden vegetable produce.
We have also made some small donations to the Kirriemuir Clothing and Food Hubs - and we are able to supply them with eco-friendly laundry and dish washing products for their clients.
Present and Future
And here we are, 3 years later and still going strong, thanks to the enthusiasm and continued support of customers and local community.
We have been able to report each year that we have prevented the use of thousands of single use plastic bags and retailed several tonnes of fresh veg and fruit from local suppliers.
Fruit & Veg without plastic packaging
Over 4 Tonnes
Prevented single use plastic going into landfill, oceans & abroad
30 000 Pieces
Refills into existing containers & bottles
£10 loyalty cards redeemed back into the local community
Our two artisan bakers are located in Aberdeenshire, reducing the distance their products travel to reach us (one of them specialising in all vegan baking) We endeavour to continue to price as competitively as possible, despite the current cost of living issues. Although we are not specifically focussed on organic, vegan or gluten free produce, we do stock these categories when we can find them at affordable price.
Since we have installed our chiller display fridge we are are now able to keep salads/soft fruits fresh for longer and we are looking into a regular supply of glass bottled milk and juices.
We are pleased that all the energy we use, supplied by Octopus, is guaranteed to come from 100% renewable sources.
While we believe that climate change issues are something we can and should be doing our best to repair, we also believe that we need to sustain people and their well being as much as the planet and our environment. So we were delighted when the Covid social restrictions were finally fully lifted, and since the beginning of this year we have been able to create our long awaited Community Coffee Hub in our spare room. This social space is also available for small meetings and suitable therapists. Enquiries are welcome.
In March we obtained a further small grant from the Scottish Government Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery (LACER) fund rolled out by Angus Council. This has been used to upgrade some of our equipment, and to refresh our web site with a view to improving our online shopping service and reaching a wider audience.
Other ongoing initiatives include expanding our loyalty / discount cards into a pay it forward scheme for both Coffee Hub refreshments and general shopping tokens. We are also working with the recently constituted Kirriemuir Development Trust and Angus Council with regard to a further LACER Town Centre Fund and a joint project which, if the proposals are accepted, aims to benefit the entire town centre economy.
Please read our other sections and continue to follow our social media pages for further news and updates.
You can contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing your views and ideas,
Tina, Heather, Eve & Gail Directors of A Longer Table CIC