seller of food
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In the United Kingdom and other countries, a grocer, grocery store or a greengrocer is a type of shop that has historically sold food, mostly vegetables and fruits with sometimes addition of other food items.[1] A greengrocer sold mostly fresh fruit and vegetables. Grocers sold more varied food. Grocers shops are usually small. They are often owned by one or two people - a sole trader or partnership with perhaps a delivery boy or girl on a trade bicycle. They are sometimes turned into corporations but that is rare for single-site businesses. When talking about a greengrocer a person may mean the people that work in such a shop or the shop itself.[2] In the UK and the Commonwealth of Nations, during the Victorian period and up to the middle 21st century, before supermarkets grouped together different shops like bakers, butchers and grocers into a single building, grocers were where most people got their fruits and vegetables. Whilst supermarkets have taken over the role of the type of shop where people buy fruits and vegetables individual greengrocers do still exist, especially in developing countries where supermarkets are not yet used as often or in rural towns out in the countryside. Today greengrocers typically cost more to shop at than the cheaper supermarkets because supermarkets can buy much more food at a time than a grocer can and pay cheaper prices: known as an economies of scale.

A traditional greengrocer in England

History of Retail Shops change

Food shops have been around since antiquity. Originally each type of merchandise had a specialised shop where one would go to buy their goods and wares. Before shops, would people typically obtained goods by the barter method or by purchasing locally grown foods and locally made goods from local sellers. Beginning with Middle Eastern towns in the 7th millennium BCE, retail marketplaces emerged when civilizations created money to allow buying and selling more easily. These open-air markets were the first type of retail outlet that could be called shops. By the 17th century, permanent shops with more regular trading hours were beginning to overtake markets and fairs as the main retail outlet. Shopkeepers were active in almost every market town. These shopkeepers sold general merchandise, much like a contemporary convenience store or a general store. As the number of shops grew, they changed. The shopfronts and layouts became more like what people see today.[3] Before the eighteenth century, the typical retail store had no counter, display cases, chairs, mirrors, changing rooms, etc. However, the opportunity for the customer to browse merchandise, touch, and feel products began to be available, with retail innovations from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. By the Victorian period greengrocers were an everyday part of most English towns. This situation continued pretty much the same until the late Victorian period when shops that offered a wider range of products began to be seen. However, in villages, the population could not support larger shops and the reliance on small trade outlets such as greengrocers, bakers, butchers, and general ware shops was the norm. About the turn of the century corner shops (so-called convenience shops) sprang up as mini supermarkets offering all forms of retail items. In the mid-twentieth century, towns were growing larger as people moved from rural areas to urban areas in search of jobs due to the industrial revolution. This made it possible for supermarkets to thrive. Specialized shops such as the baker, butcher, and grocer began to close.[4] In the first decade of the 2000s there was a decline of close to 3000 registered greengrocers on Britain's streets.[5] In April 1997 there were 6,916 registered greengrocers but this had declined to 3,948 by April of 2008.

London Company of Grocers change

The Worshipful Company of Grocers has been a trade organization and one of the original "Great" Livery Companies of the City of London holding precedence second in the list of the original companies. Beginning as the Pepperers in 1180 the company was in charge of seeing that spices and pepper were not adultered (were pure) acting as a health and safety organization protecting the public long before laws would be made to do the same. By 1426 the Grocers had moved their headquarters to Grocers Hall in the City of London. The Company had a great influence on the King and on government especially regarding trade and taxation.

Trend reversal change

With more mechanised transport people began to move back from the cities into the countryside where smaller shops once again found favour. It became trendy to shop at individual shops like the grocers, bakers, and butchers as people had more disposable income and could afford the higher prices. There was also the feeling that people were getting higher quality food from smaller shops and were doing their bit to support local retailers. In some places, greengrocers are making a comeback as people prefer to have the perceived freshness and better person-to-person customer service of a smaller shop.

References change

  1. "Greengrocer". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  2. "greengrocer". The Britannica Dictionary. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  3. "Rise and Fall of the Greengrocer". Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  4. "Rise and Fall of the Greengrocer". Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  5. Staff Writer (2008-08-09). "Greengrocer numbers fall in past decade". Talking Retail. Retrieved 2023-10-29.