James and Carly Welham, owners of Hollingsworths Store and Butchers, have gone above and beyond this year to ensure that their customers had the products and services they needed during this pandemic, but the history of Hollingsworths being an amazing local store shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have long lived in the village.
Hollingsworths is a family-owned store that has been operating for over 50 years now in the heart of Chelmondiston, James and Carly having purchased and renovated the store in 2017. They provide anything and everything for their customers, from bakery, cakes and desserts to dried goods, pasta and fresh meat, they even have an onsite deli so that you can get as many fresh goods as possible at a decent price, with vegetarian and vegan options available throughout the store.
The duo also have a particular focus on being as environmentally conscious as they can be, supplying reusable bags and recycled paper bags to customers in order to cut down on the amount of plastic they use.
They try to make sure that most of their produce is locally sourced and they’re even installing a refill area in the store for their dried fruits, cereals and nuts, among other confectionaries, which they hope to have available soon.
James Welham told us: “I feel it’s our responsibility, as a retailer, to source as local, and be as eco-friendly, as possible. When I bought the shop, I inherited a cupboard of carrier bags and I vowed that, when they ran out, I wouldn’t buy any more. They ran out about three weeks ago so you can imagine how many there were. We went from using around 120 carrier bags a week to 10 and now we don’t use any, thankfully.”
The pandemic has caused an influx in the number of customers that shop local and Carly and James have ensured that all of their customers can get all their necessary products, especially for those most vulnerable, initially delivering weekly shops to around 30/40 people at a time.
“People kept asking how we managed to get all the products that were sold out everywhere else and I always said that it was because I care about the people that shop here. There are a few people in the village, particularly older folks, who can’t leave the house or get the bus into town for the supermarket and so they depend on local shops like ours for product. So, we made sure that we could get the best for them because we care about them and how they’re doing,” he explained.
For now, Carly and James are focusing on improving their store to make it as best as it can be, always keeping a focus on their customers’ needs, even buying in things for the store at a customer’s request.
James told us: “We’re a local family, we’ve got children at the schools, ten people live in our house, I’ve got my nephew and seven other children with me. I think we’re quite unique in that. I think a big part of the shop is that we are a family and, by supporting the shop, people are supporting us. We’re just a local family-run business that do our best to be as green as possible and try to help to support the local community as much as we can.”
To check out Hollingsworths for yourself, simply head to their store at 1 chestnut house, church road, Chelmondiston IP9 1hs or visit their online shop at: www.hollingsworthstore.co.uk.