Manjit Rana and her husband have run the Tipsy Toad in Hammersmith Grove since 1989. “We like to welcome people in” she says, adding “Each customer is special to us, people live busy lives and we try to offer support and be more than just another local shop”. Her customers seem to agree, asking her to sign for parcels when they’re at work and dropping in to chat, drink tea and be updated on local news.
Manjit’s self-depreciating nature, gentle approach and good neighbourliness has earned her a loyal following but it’s getting harder for small local businesses like hers to compete with the big retailers and Manjit can be seen working behind the counter from early in the morning to late at night, just to make ends meet. Manjit says her prices for wines, beers, newspapers and groceries are “often better and at least as good as the chain stores” but she admits it’s an on-going battle to attract new customers.
Local family owned shops like the Tipsy Toad offer much more that any chain-store can compete with. They operate at the centre of the community, adding to its cohesion and giving a sense of place. Hammersmith Grove wouldn’t be the same without it.
The Tipsy Toad is situated at 91 Hammersmith Grove. Orders can also be placed by calling 020 8741 9358.