“You’ve got to get down to Commercial Street,” said the text from a pal. “The new health shop is insane.”
Then she called and told me how Birchwood Food Emporium was better than anything she’d ever seen in Edinburgh or Glasgow – and on a par with the best in London.
She’s not alone. The buzz around just one shop – transferred by Ian Alexander from a much smaller shop around the corner – is something else.
One friend said she felt like starting a health kick just by being there for half an hour. Another said the cafe was perfect.
I’ve yet to make it down for a visit but it’s another feather in the cap of what some call the Downtown Dundee area – championed by well-known hairdresser Irving Miskell-Reid – a hub of independent stores from the popular cheese shop to barbers, hairdressers, cafes and clothes shops.
If Dundee is to attract people to the V&A but more importantly keep them in the city with enough going on, we can’t just have our only shopping experience in the Overgate.
And we’re not. Downtown is pulsing with new openings such as Birchwood and the St Andrews Brewing Company – venues which are nailing customer experience.
And the likes of Birchwood are taking us into the future, offering refills of washing powder to customers who bring their own containers, as well as paper or linen bags to replace plastic.
On this note, Lush in the Overgate is worth a revisit for its brilliant attempts at sustainability combined with technology.
You can now take a picture of their product, put it on to a Lush app and be informed about what ingredients go into their products, ridding the need for any packaging with details.
Dundee might be on the up but it’s not enough to open a shop and hope for profits because there are more customers.
A business has to be excellent to thrive – as many which have closed their doors have learned.
If we’re being honest, our shopping experience is not yet what it could be.
If Birchwood is anything to go by, we’re on the way.