The Good Store is the living embodiment of an old idea made good again, made modern and helpful.
What’s the idea? Do away with packaging by bringing your own.
For example, I come here with a large Tupperware container, fill it with organic muesli, leave it with something that fits perfectly in my cupboard, and take the faff out of breakfast for weeks.
It’s a bit daunting, to begin with, despite the idea of individually wrapped foods being relatively new. You’ll get the hang of this old way in no time at all.
Besides, the owners are attentive and always around to help.
Weigh your container before you start, pour however much of a thing you want into it, weigh the container again and use the stickers the scales give you to record the difference. Go to the counter and pay as usual.
The Good Store’s supplies
You can get cereal, nuts and beans here, and those are the choices I started with myself.
The Good Store also has fresh vegetables and bread. There’s not much difference in the experience of buying those groceries here than elsewhere, except you’ll be shopping local, indie and environmentally.
You get eggs here, too! I’ve ended up buying a reusable egg box to facilitate this. You don’t need one, though, as the Good Store also provides traditional boxes. The idea is you don’t put these packages straight in the bin and that you use them again.
Impressively, you can get oils and vinegar here as well. It’s the same process as buying cornflakes from the cereal tubs, but you’ll probably want a different container. I only have one Tupperware tub that works for this, but I decant to more decorative containers when I get home and free up that travelling beaker straight away.
The Good Store size advantage
The environment and local business gravity first pulled me towards the Good Store.
I’ve subsequently found an advantage that I hadn’t appreciated before. As a single guy who eats out often but favours fresh and healthy when eating at home, I have got a constant battle with quantities and freshness.
Simply put, supermarkets design deals for families, not single shoppers. Sometimes it is even impossible to buy food in quantities that I can eat all of before it goes off, and I don’t have that problem at The Good Store.
At The Good Store, I can buy as much or as little as I want. For example, I often only buy two or four eggs at a time.
The Good Store customer service
In one sense, The Good Store is self-service. You’re able to fill up your containers, take the appropriate weights and pay when you’re ready.
In a very real sense, you have all the assistance you need. I’ve been about a half dozen times in the weeks I’ve been living in the area, and I’ve always had aid offered.
You can also ask about what’s coming in, what the store might stock (they’re tracking down sesame oil right now, I believe) or even ask for tips.
Tip: If you’re in doubt, ask about the freshness of things. Without wrapping, you don’t always know the best before date, so you might want to reassure yourself.
The retail experience of visiting The Good Store is different from a plastic-wrapped supermarket that is hard to describe. I totally understand why, in yesteryears, the local store became something of a community hub.
It’s also worth noting that you might think that The Good Store would be messy with people pouring oil or sending rivers of cereal from one container into another, and it’s not, and it’s bright, clean and open.
The Good Store hasn’t replaced my supermarket use, but I give it first dibs on anything I expect it to have. Except for the bread, as I’m still fond of getting that from Leith Market or my local bakers.
I predict more and more people will start shopping like this. Whether it’s because people want to try and save the planet, support Local or just find the flexibility of quantity as helpful as I do, the packaging-free approach is appealing.
I know it won’t suit everyone, though. And that’s okay. I’m also disabled enough, with very painful fingers, to understand the considerable freedom of some prepared and packaged foods, and that’s okay; I still buy those too.
Overall, though, I find shopping at The Good Store pleasant and practical. I like doing it and therefore try to.
You should see if there’s somewhere like The Good Store near you and try it too. If you’re in the Granton, Trinity or Inverleith area, that means checking out The Good Store itself.