Trader Spotlight – Sherwin’s Cheese BarFebruary 13, 2015
As soon as you walk into Leicester Market’s new Food Hall, you can’t help but smile as the senses come under attack through a mixture of amazing sights and smells courtesy of the Hall’s traders.
Depending on which entrance to the Food Hall you take, one of the first traders you come across is Sherwin’s Cheese Bar; run by Alison Ireland and her husband, Adam.
Sherwin’s encapsulates everything that makes Leicester Market special; a huge range of local produce, available at excellent prices with a service provided by enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. Providing shoppers with a wide variety of English and foreign cheeses, Sherwin’s also offers fresh pies, sausage rolls, pickles, preserves, eggs and cooked meats – not to mention fresh bread baked daily and supplied by long-standing Leicestershire company, Brucciani.
Alison took time out to speak to the Leicester Market website about the stall and what keeps people constantly heading to Sherwin’s for their fresh cheeses and more…
Alison, tell us a little bit about you stall and its history at Leicester Market...
Our stall was started by my parents in 1977 and my mum and dad retired about 10-15 years ago. My husband and I took over and most recently, we moved the stall into the new Food Hall. I’ve been working on the stall in both guises since I was 18-years-old – but I’m not telling you how long ago that was!
What do you take most pride in?
We provide a very good selection of top-end cheeses, which we source direct from the dairies themselves. There is a huge variety in terms of the kind of cheeses, and where we can, these are all produced locally. There are a lot of English cheeses available from local dairies, but we also have all of the foreign cheeses as well. Where possible, we try to aim on English/British cheeses.
What has the feedback been like from your customers? Have they indicated why they keep coming back for more?
A lot of customers say that they like the good, quality produce at a very good market price. We try to be very competitive with anybody that offers similar products. I think that personal service is another reason. We have very good staff; there’s a team of five or six of us and they’re all very good – very friendly and loyal.
It’s a nice factor that the stall is very much a family business…
I’m very, very proud of that also and we’re really enjoying working in the new Food Hall.
How much of an impact has the new Food Hall had on business?
We are busier. There are a lot more people that walk through the Food Hall – and quite a lot of younger people, which is really great to see and bodes well for the future. We’re seeing a lot of new faces and it’s so much nicer than working in the old building – it’s lighter, brighter and cleaner. I think we all enjoy working in here a bit more. Towards the end in the old building, it was very dark and quite hard work because fewer customers were coming in. We love it in here!
Your stall is so much more than cheese though, isn’t it?
Yes, we also sell fresh pies and sausage rolls, which are baked daily by a local company. Brucciani’s deliver their fresh bread to us six days a week; at about 7:00am every day so it’s warm when it arrives. We have a nice selection of traditional loaves, sourdough, olive breads and things that are slightly different. We’re the only ones that sell bread, which is hopefully another selling point! We sell a range of cooked meats, which we again try to source locally. We also sell tripe, which we still find to be very popular! Whilst it’s an acquired taste, we sell a lot of it to the older generation who were perhaps brought up on it.
What have you found to be special about trading at Leicester Market?
I think Leicester Market is a very special place in general, because having such a wide range of stalls makes it so different from the supermarkets. Hopefully things will come full circle now; when small businesses started, supermarkets came in and took over. Now, I think some people are getting a little bit fed up of supermarkets dictating everything and the ‘price wars’.
Have you a ‘most popular’ product?
Not really, because we like to promote different things every week. We may have one cheese on offer one week, or a certain cooked meat a special offering the next. We just pride ourselves on having a really good selection of quality produce.
What are your plans for the future?
We’re always on the lookout for new cheeses. As I mentioned, we’re very proud of the range of quality produce we offer and we’re always looking to ensure that range is the best it can possibly be and great value prices.
Sherwin’s Cheese Bar can be found inside Leicester Market’s Food Hall and trades Monday through to Saturday.