Featuring a distinctive green awning and carts of colourful vegetables outside, Fraser’s, St Andrews’ newest greengrocer, is a beacon for foodies and non-foodies alike. Sitting down with its owner and namesake, Fraser Reid, The Tribe quizzed Reid about his shop, views on food, and the benefits of shopping local.
In your words, what is Fraser’s?
It’s just a shop. We try to get in nice stuff for people to cook with […]. We try and source as much of it from local places as we can, and when we can’t, we use whole-sellers to buy it in. We stock different deli stuff as well. But it’s just to buy nice ingredients to cook nice things with, [that] is ultimately what we’re about.
Why should people shop here instead of Tesco, for instance?
They can shop where they want. It doesn’t faze us where people shop. If they want to shop here, they’ll shop here, and if not, they’ll shop at other places. We probably have a wider variety of things that you would be able to buy here, so that would be one reason for shopping [here] […]. We see a lot of return customers, so hopefully they’re enjoying what we sell. But no, people can shop wherever they’d like, honestly. We won’t force them to shop here at all. We really won’t.
You mentioned the wider variety of items you have here. What other things make Fraser’s special?
Hopefully, service. I’ve got a big issue with service at the moment; I’m really annoyed at the customer service that you get at loads of places. […] I was really, really let down by two big companies this week, and I was kind of just thinking about it, and that’s actually why you shop locally or at smaller stores and things like that – you actually get service. You get a face, and someone asks you a question, and you can answer it. And you don’t pan off and kind of go, “Oh yeah, we’ll get back to you on that” – they never get back to you, let me tell you. They don’t.
Service, that’s what you get from local shops. And our staff are lovely.
What made you open a greengrocer’s here in St Andrews?
Actually, the opportunity came to us, more than anything else. We own a shop in Dundee and have owned [it] for six years, and the place we’re in now [in St Andrews] used to be a greengrocer’s, and they retired or ran down their lease, and the landlord phoned us up and was like, ‘Would you like to come across and give it a go?’ That’s it. We didn’t look for two shops, we’re not like an expanding empire or anything. We were happy with our one little shop in Dundee, but we kind of felt like if we were going to do it anywhere else, then St Andrews would be a good place to do it.
Since you opened Fraser’s here, how has the community’s response been so far?
Really positive. Lovely people. […] We pretty much get to do a really cool job here, where we get to stand and talk about food all day to people. And that’s kind of what people do when they’re not at work. Like, the [student] societies in St Andrews, there’s so many food-orientated ones, and you’re kind of sitting, chatting about what you’re eating, and we just get to do that at work. So it’s nice. You can hear Connor [who’s working at the counter] chatting to someone about food just now, just like talking about different things and different recipes. Yeah, I love it.
People [talk about food] naturally. It’s everywhere. And people have come in and just been really kind of excited. Like this place, because the [greengrocer’s that was here before] just sold fruit and veg, it didn’t have kind of deli stuff, so people are like, ‘Ooh, look at this. They sell weird stuff.’ Yeah, it’s good.
I noticed on your Facebook page that you had something called ‘soup bags’. Are you still doing those?
Yup. In Dundee, they’re really popular. We always sell a couple of hundred in a week. So they are all your ingredients to make four bowls of soup. The recipe changes every week. It’s always vegetarian, and I’m pretty sure other than one [each year], it would be vegan-friendly. I think one in the year we do kind of a chowder, with some milk. And they’re £2.95 for four portions of soup, and they take like half an hour of your time. It’s so simple, it’s so easy, and […] last year we brought out a cookbook, because we’ve come up with so many recipes […]. We sell [the book] here as well.
Aside from actual food and stuff, what do you hope people will get out of Fraser’s?
I hope that they get an enjoyable experience. Just enjoy it. Don’t feel like you’re standing browsing yoghurt, and someone’s going like, ‘Ugh, just get out my way’ […]. Shopping doesn’t need to be a chore, it should be enjoyable. […] We hope that we’ve provided the kind of space that people will feel like they always get a consistency of service, and they always get a really nice experience, and that’s what it’s about. That’s why you go back to places, because you get a nice experience, whether it be a restaurant, a food shop, a park, whatever. You go back because it’s a nice experience.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell your customers?
Just smile when you come in, and ask us questions if you want. We’ll try and answer them, to the best of our ability […]. We’re a happy bunch. There’s no big sales pitch – just come and use the shop, and hopefully you enjoy it. That’s all.
Fraser’s opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Saturday: 9:30am – 5pm
To keep up to date with weekly soup bags and cool new food items, visit Fraser’s Facebook page.
Photo Credit: Isaree Thatchaichawalit