Lockdown Legend: The Smiddy

The Smiddy, Blair Drummond

Lockdown was an extraordinary thing to have lived through this year and it was a privilege to witness some local organisations stepping up in remarkably quick time and literally becoming the life-lines we did not know we needed.

This was exemplified in our opinion by a much loved local farm shop and café called The Smiddy.

Sitting at a junction of the A84 & A873 at Blair Drummond, near Stirling and the site of an old metalworks, the building was transformed 4  years ago and has evolved into a striking café, deli/farmshop, butchery and gift shop.

Whilst the arrival of COVID saw many such places close for several months, the Smiddy determined to go down a different path and do the right thing by their employees in the process.  So despite having to close the café, they increased the supply of everyday essentials and almost overnight they fast-tracked the kernel of an idea for a delivery facility which became a lifeline to many local people – particularly the old and vulnerable.  They managed to get their hands on staples when no-one else had any, pasta, flour etc bought in bulk from wholesalers and decanted into smaller quantities; fresh bread and milk came in daily – mostly locally sourced and for many it was an eye opener to see what good produce was available so close by with the added joy of not having to queue around a dreary supermarket car park.

From an initial offering of fruit & veg and meat boxes they quickly expanded the available delivery options to over 300 product lines including baking goods, prepared meals, cleaning products, shampoo bars etc. The shop is also host to huge a range of giftware – many sourced from Scotland’s Trade Fairs – and in April it was almost the only place possible to buy a card or gift in the area.

The coffee pod installed outside in the car park became an outdoor meeting place and they increased the space available to stand and have some human contact – it was always full – it still is.

By going down this route The Smiddy managed to avoid a single redundancy and even took staff on to drive vans; they are now delivering regularly as far afield as Glasgow, Edinburgh and south Perthshire and lots of their new customers have become regular shoppers.  Their permanently full car park is testament to the creativity of this local enterprise.  A big hand for The Smiddy!

 

Favourite lockdown box set: 
Tiger King, then ticked off Breaking Bad – phew!

Available in the Smiddy:
Shearer Candles
Tweedmill Textiles
Crafty Kit Company
Ulster Weavers Textiles
Campbells Shortbread
Gin Bothy
Feragaia
Henry's Coffee
Chrystals Shortbread
Your Piece Baking Company

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