Budgens, the independent grocery brand, has opened its flagship store in London. The store in Crouch End was opened by regular customer Keith Dunkley who has been shopping there for 20 years.
The store closed for three weeks to undergo extensive improvements to the inside and outside, with significant investment in improving the selection for customers, with a strong commitment to local and smaller artisan suppliers.
The 8,600 sq ft store boasts a bigger selection of fresh products including new Budgens own branded lines, an extensive bakery selection from local bakers Dunn’s and a continued focus on authentic, affordable, artisan and locally produced foods. The store also boasts several brand new features including a hot porridge bar, a hot soup bar, salad bar, grind-your-own coffee beans offering seven different varieties and an in-store patisserie section.
Budgens Director, Mike Baker said: “It’s great to see this store now open, Budgens of Crouch End is our flagship store and it’s a key milestone for us. It builds on everything we have learned from our lab stores in Bournemouth and Byfleet and comes with lots of new features. There’s a continued focus on fresh but food-to-go and our counters really come to the fore here. The opening has been met with much excitement this morning and we’re delighted with the makeover.”
Store Manager Tony Stone opened the store with Keith and praised the work of his staff in getting the store ready. Tony said: “We’ve completely redesigned the store inside and staff have worked hard to get everything ready for the opening. It’s a brighter store with more space for browsing and a much bigger focus on fresh. As soon as you walk in you see a large fresh area and the key shopping missions of lunch, meal for tonight and top up. Customers seem to like the new hot food and salad bar and the response has been really positive.”
The opening was backed by a marketing campaign to local residents. Budgens door dropped 2,000 Lindt chocolate bunnies to local postcodes, with a £5 voucher to redeem on shops over £20. Customers were also treated to free samples in the opening few days, including hot soups from Yorkshire Provender, handcrafted chocolates from local chocolatier Diana David, delicious hot pies from The Real Pie Company, fresh coffee from the new Budgens grind-your-own range, a selection of fine wines from Enotria, gin tasting from Sipsmith Gins and craft beers from the East London Brewing Company.
This is the third concept store to open under the repositioned Budgens brand, but the first in London. It builds on the success of the lab store opened in Broadstone, Bournemouth in October 2014. Budgens hopes to rejuvenate the British high street by delivering posh nosh for the masses and changing the image of convenience retailing.
The in-store butchers will offer a full meat selection alongside specialist ranges from the Wild Meat Company such as venison, boar, partridge, pigeon and rabbit.
A new and improved in-store deli will offer a comprehensive range of regional and international cheeses including Cornish Yarg, Ribblesdale Sheeps Cheese, Comte Forte Saint Antoine, Serrano ham sliced thinly to order and 9 types of olives and anti-pasti from London supplier Belazu, you can serve yourself.
A soup bar for fast but wholesome lunches will offer hearty soups from Yorkshire Provender, there will be two flavours on offer each day from 11am to 3pm each day including Tomato & Wensleydale, Moroccan Chicken, Root Vegetables & Pearl Barley and Minted Pea & Ham.
Bakery & Patisserie
A fresh bakery section will offer a wide selection of speciality breads and pastries including Sourdough, Spelt & Honey bread, Bavarian Rye, Redemption Ale loaf from local Dunn’s bakery. There will also be a new Patisserie offering cakes and tartlets, six types of fresh cream éclair, including exotic mango or nutty pistachio, a luxury macaroon assortment and Brittany butter croissants, pain au raisin and pain au chocolate.
London Ales & Spirits
The new wine cellar area will offer a selection of local beers from East London Brewing Company, Meantime, Redemption and Sambrook as well as a wide range of craft ales from breweries around the country. There will be more focus on traditional ciders with a selection from across the UK including Dunkerton’s, Henney’s and Sheppy’s and also craft spirits from London including Portobello Road Gin, Sipsmith Gin & Sipsmith Vodka. English wines will also be a focus with seven new wines on offer from Denbies in Surrey, Sedlescombe and Ridgeview from Sussex and Shawsgate from Suffolk alongside a selection of 16 organic wines from around the world.