Keeping it local: a shopping trip to Porthmadog

Shopping in Porthmadog

After my recent ‘shopping locally’ trips to Caernarfon and Pwllheli, this month I decided to shop in Porthmadog – and this time round it was a family affair…

My mum and stepfather were visiting from London, and in truth we actually had several day trips that weekend which included looking around local shops, including some I’ve talked about here before. But Mum fancied a trip to Porthmadog on the Saturday, so we took them there with my daughter, son-in-law and two young grandsons for a look around the shops and a spot of lunch.

One of the first shops we visited was Vegonia, a health food shop on Porthmadog High Street. Usually, when I need healthy ingredients, supplements and natural toiletries I go to Dimensions in Upper Bangor. But we weren’t going to have time for a trip there during my parents’ visit, and we had run out of the gorgeous Suma geranium and rose soap that we’re so fond of, and were close to the end of our bottle of hair conditioner (same brand, same fragrance) so when we spotted that Porthmadog had a health shop (a fact I’d managed to completely forget until we arrived) we went in and filled a basket with everything we needed.

My husband wanted a tea infuser so we looked around both branches of the Portmeirion shop, convinced that if anyone in Porthmadog would sell such a thing, it would be them. Sadly on this occasion we were wrong, but even so we really enjoyed looking at all the beautiful homewares and daydreaming about winning the lottery and buying absolutely everything! My daughter was particularly taken with the beautiful toys on sale – many of which were brightly painted wooden toys of the type she particularly likes for the boys.

My daughter wanted to browse her favourite Porthmadog shop, Genius, so I went in with her and admired the lovely gifts and hand crafted items on sale. I do a bit of crafting too, in my spare time, so I left one of my flyers with the girls behind the counter so that they could pass it to their boss, who wasn’t in that day, to see if there was an opportunity for me to sell any of my items through Genius.

Kerfoots, PorthmadogAs it was just across the road, I took everyone into Kerfoots, the department store (the only independently-owned one in Wales, as it happens) and we admired the beautiful stained glass roof and browsed the many floors of quality goods for sale. I treated my grandson to a lovely hand puppet, as his birthday was coming up.

Hungry now, we decided to stop for lunch at Lily’s Kitchen where we filled up on chips and tea – and very good they were, too! Afterwards, as we crossed over the road my grandson’s eye was caught by a particular toy outside the ‘bit of everything’ shop on the corner of Chapel Street. It was a plastic aeroplane on the end of a ‘walking stick’, which when pushed along made a dinging noise while the propeller turned around. Little Jacob was really taken with it, so how could I resist buying it for him? We all thought it very cute that he insisted on pushing his new toy all the way back to the car, which was parked at the big car park behind Wilkinson’s. That may not sound like a big deal, but for a two-year-old it’s quite a walk!

When we got back home I explained to everyone about Buy Local Gwynedd and what it aims to achieve, and how they would appear in this article. Everyone was very impressed that our local council is so supportive of local businesses, and all agreed that shopping locally really makes sense if you want to help keep money in your local economy instead of it going into the pockets of overseas shareholders who have no interest in our area other than what can be earned from it. We talked about the fact that when you shop locally, you’re helping to keep local people in work, who would in turn spend their money locally and ensure more jobs and other benefits for local people. All agreed it made sense to shop in this way as often as possible, and said they would try to do this now that they understood the benefits. Having gained a handful of new converts, my shopping trip this month was even more worth doing than usual!

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