For the latest in our miniseries about the great people driving the UK’s local food revolution, we spoke to Deborah Thompson, owner and director of Teddington Stores who, like Tebay’s CEO Sarah Dunning, quit her job in the city to set up her own local food business.
How did Teddington Stores begin?
We are a genuinely local rural business. My husband and I set up Teddington Stores at the end of 2014. We had often talked about setting up a farm shop at home, but then managed to buy the site at Teddington Hands where the stores are now situated. From the outset, I wanted to create a quality food hall that showcased the best the region has to offer. The stores has evolved over time as we have become more established.
Locally, the stores are affectionately known as ‘Teddy’s’. We are an important resource for the surrounding villages, being the only food store in the area and open 7 days a week – we stayed open throughout all the rough weather we had last winter, helping keep the roads open. We support lots of local fundraising efforts, supplying hampers for raffles or food for events.
What’s your food philosophy?
Our ethos has always been to ‘go the extra mile’ for genuinely local, high-quality produce. Buying from nearby makes it easier to ensure provenance and for us, it’s vital to know what you’re eating. It’s all rigorously tested! The whole ‘local’ thing has been used very loosely by food retailers, but we honestly care about the products we sell. We source our produce mainly from Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire (known as The Three Counties, as we are near the boundary to these counties). We also buy produce from the West Country. As a young girl, I spent a fair amount of time in France and always admired their love and respect for food and drink and I wanted to bring some of that to the Cotswolds – I’d like to think that we’ve achieved this, but I’m not resting on my laurels, we are looking to expand… so watch this space!
What makes Teddington Stores a special places to stop?
We have a small coffee shop offering cakes, pastries, light meals and, a range of hot and cold drinks to offer the weary traveller. All of this produce is also sold in store. We are a proper local food hall selling everything you might need for a meal: local fruit and veg (according to season); cheeses; Billy’s Woodland Eggs; flowers; gifts; Peter Cook’s organic bread and cakes (made from local organic flour); pâtés and charcuterie from the Cotswolds; ham and beef prepared in store; craft gins and vodkas; fine wines from England and abroad; and more besides.
Our pièce de résistance is our butchery. We pride ourselves on our excellent quality meat from traditional breeds, locally sourced from surrounding farms and Adeys Farm, an organic producer near Berkeley. Our butchers go above and beyond to prepare our meat to your requirements. All our beef is hung for at least 28 days and then placed in our dry agers – experience quality meat at its best.