What would you want in a new greengrocers?

Dear all

Having lost my job during C-19 this presents me with an opportunity to escape the corporate rat race.

Am planning on putting a proposal together for a greengrocers business.

Would you visit an additional one in the area? What would attract you?



I’m shielding, so at the moment I’m reliant on deliveries. That isn’t my usual way of shopping, as I prefer to choose my own. I like shopping seasonally. I’d be really attracted to Kent fruit and veg and honey. It’s surprising how difficult it is to get good quality Kent cherries and strawberries in season and Victoria plums. I don’t buy strawberries in the winter, but I do go for more imported things like lemons and oranges. And I do have a weakness for those huge pink French shallots that have such a short season. I suppose I think of foreign fruit and veg as an occasional treat, when I can’t get UK produce. I never buy foreign asparagus, but I do buy the odd avocado and try not to feel guilty about it.

There are only the two of us at home though, so I’m aware we might not be your biggest shoppers.


Apart from the regular fruit n veg stuff it would be great to have Asian veg plus bunches of herbs (coriander with root on!), Thai basil etc etc plus you could oils and bread but it may start treading on established toes!
I still miss the greengrocer in nunhead, they used to add up the cost in pencil on the bag like in the ‘olden days’…
So yeah as long as the basics were mixed with more exotic stuff would make me a twice a week minimum customer for sure.


I would love to see “wonky” veg and local produce. So much gets flown in and food waste from UK farmers is disgusting and very sad. I currently use “odd box” for this reason as it helps me cut down on food waste. Also sustainable packaging/ no plastic. I appreciate that something’s require plastic but maybe a reduction in that. Also really like the zero waste movement where by in some shops you can bring containers and fill it with things like flour/pasta/rice/pulses/nuts etc. Perhaps something like that. I don’t believe there is anything like that closer than Clapham which is where I’ve been in the past but since moving into forest hill/carried I’m yet to find one.

Also. I try very hard not to buy too often from big supermarkets so if I could buy my weekly veg (maybe more) from your store you’d see a regular and loyal customer in me.


There’s Beetroot and Beans in Dartmouth Road which ticks a lot of your boxes.
I’m sure they’ll be along to say hi here soon!

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I like the idea of recipe card ideas. I suppose it also depends on your proposed location - Anotherjohn may be able to offer you advice. Beetroot and Beans is on Dartmouth Road and the new Marvellous Beans and Greens is on Brockley Rise.


Good bread. The Butchers and Agas have some but it gets sold out quickly.

May be some decent deli items like salads, dips and pastries.


Few bottles of wine, dried pasta, nice pasta sauce and olive oil. People can come for vegetables, but take the constituents of a meal. Also, the listed items don’t expire, so you won’t have to worry about food expiring for everything that you offer.

I’d also suggest that you sell locally roasted coffee beans, such as mont 58, even if at cost price to generate footfall.

For several years I’ve been getting most of my fruit and veg from Lewisham market. Since “lockdown” I’ve been trying to shop locally in Sainsbury’s and the Co-op but haven’t been very impressed with their offerings and especially their prices. So I’d want a new greengrocer that can offer a wide selection of items at good prices.


I suppose it depends on where you are. Forest Hill could benefit from a traditional green grocer selling veg at cheap prices. Kind of the type that I generally would visit a Turkish grocer for… such as buying 10 kilos of tomatoes and getting change for a tenner.

Beetroot & Beans satisfies my need for high quality, organic and specialist fruit and veg.

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At the moment I get my vegetables from Sainsbury, Provender and Marvellous Green. Provender has really stepped up since the lockdown and I try to support them as much as I can.


Some organic bagged salads or salad leafs and greens in boxes like they used to do do at the farmers market so we can create our own mix and buy as much or as little as we want.
sprouting ‘stuff’ broccoli sprouts,raddish sprouts,mixed bean and lentil sprouts I have to go to SMBS on Lordship Lane for these.
Also as previously mentioned it would be great to have some packaged fresh dips and perhaps some more interesting fresh bread options.

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For me, something ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ for Forest Hill would be fab. With the new hotel being built we’ve lost the Co-Op and as much as their new store is still nearish, it’s not convenient for a lot of people who head down Perry Vale on their walk home from the station. The old Waterfords’ greengrocer could have been so good. That would be an idea spot.

Fresh seasonal FRV would be amazing. Also some essential provisions too; eggs, bread, coffee beans, milk would be very handy. And if you can stretch to something to make a quick evening meal even better.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

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I would suggest that as Waters greengrocer & fishmongers failed the position of the shop must have been a contributing factor.

I went a few times. They never had stock, didn’t really invest in the shop and were always about to improve it but it never came. Was such a shame. I stopped going after a while as it was very hit and miss.


I’m sure the location played a part, but there were a couple of other issues cited at the time as I recall - firstly that prices were a bit high, and secondly that hours were somewhat erratic.


As others have said, the stock selection there was poor and expensive and it opened at random times.

A combo greengrocers and fishmongers was never a goer in my book- the smell of the fish was so off-putting to buying veg!


Marvellous Greens and Beans sell bread and take out coffee. There can’t be much of a profit on veg so you need something else as suggested above. I liked Waters but agree the stock was very variable quality and yes you need consistent opening times.

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I’d love a basic fruit and veg shop but I dont think the finances work which is why there really aren’t that many. The margins on your basic stuff are far too slim to make a living. So there has to be an angle or selling point or combination. Being a grower my needs are limited but a grocer combined with a bag your own (pulses, flour, beans - any loose items really would get me in the door…