Meet the Gosport greengrocer fighting back after losing customers to Brockhurst Gate

INDEPENDENT retailers must adapt and work together in order to survive, according to a greengrocer.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 2:34 pm

Matthew Grubb, owner of Matthew’s Greengrocer in Forton Road, Gosport – formerly The Fruit Basket – has seen a record week of sales after becoming active on social media.

The 32-year-old had seen customer numbers dwindle after Brockhurst Gate Retail Park opened last year, and wanted to do something about it.

Now, he is urging other independent retailers to reinvent themselves and join forces to keep themselves alive.

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Matthew Grubb Picture: Sarah Standing (250220-8821)

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He said: ‘Every since Brockhurst Gate opened, we’d seen a real drop in customers.

‘I guess people wanted the convenience and the big brands, but it had a huge impact on us; I wondered what I was doing wrong and why our customers had suddenly disappeared.

‘I put a post up on Facebook explaining that times were getting hard for us, and since then it’s been non-stop for us.’

Matthew's Greengrocers Picture: Sarah Standing (250220-8840)

Matthew says he worked more than 80 hours last week but ‘isn't complaining' about the sudden influx of trade.

Instead, he's looking to link up with nearby butchers and bakers so that the traders can all work together.

‘I've started using Facebook a lot more,’ he said.

‘It allows people to get to know their greengrocer again, because I can talk to people who aren't necessarily familiar with the shop; it's all about adapting to the world around us and clearly works.

Matthew Grubb, owner of Matthew's Greengrocers in Forton Road, Gosport Picture: Sarah Standing (250220-8802)

‘I'm talking to the butchers in Stoke Road so that we can promote each other – I think we have to all work together so that we can be successful.'

But the bottom line for small retailers is getting customers through the door.

Matthew is now calling for people to reconsider whether they go to the supermarket, or come back to the independent shopkeepers.

He said: ‘It's really important that everyone supports their local retailers; a lot of these shops are closing and they won’t be coming back.

‘While it's tough to compete with places like Lidl when it comes to price, but we’re the ones supporting local produce like apple juice from Swanmore and potatoes from Hayling Island – so everyone benefits.’