In a word I’d say yes. And I will back it up with two (yes 2 not 1!!!) examples dear to my heart, bottle shops and bakeries.
Today I went into the Vintage Cellars in Albert Park. Wasnt after anything special just having a look while killing some time. This used to be an independent bottle shop that had a great selection of beers. Local, imported, rare, hard to get, and the ordinary everyday drinkers. Now it has the fair and honest, but noting special line up. The same line up that all bloody Vintage Cellars have. I dont want to be unfair to Vintage Cellars, they have a way better line up that most of the supermarket bottle shops but they are a chain and therefore all the same. Where does the little independent brewery (or wine maker) fit in all this? my guess is they dont. Where does the customer who wants something a bit different or special fit in this? again, my guess is they don’t.
Vintage Cellars buggered up by local bottle shop in Yarraville a few months ago (the one that used to have the fish tank until some government agency said they needed some kind of permit for the tank??) and now they have done the same to the Albert Park bottle’o.
Not happy. I’m sure someone made a few bucks out of it, and I wont begrudge the former owners selling to make a profit off their hard work. Also I don’t know if Vintage Cellars is a franchise setup, so it may be the same people running it? not really sure. Just sad that it seems the consumer is loosing out here.
Now on to bakeries. Firstly I like bakeries. When in rural Victoria they are my lunch venue of choice (unless I am near the Mortlake roadhouse, home of the best potato cakes in the world). Secondly I love vanilla slice but I’ll be damned if I can find a decent one in the city. No not with passion fruit icing. No not a french one with the cream as well as custard. Also I believe that the icing should be pink. Country bakeries rock at them. City bakeries suck at them (please note I am happy to be proven wrong here – let me know where the vanilla slice is!).
I had lunch in two different independently owned bakeries earlier this week. Both had were pretty good, one better than the other, both vastly different thought. I think thats part of what I like about them. Now on to the city bakeries. The independant ones are few and far between. Now, more and more the chain stores area breaking into the world of the bakery. Also few of them are doing the whole bakery job. More and more they are tightening up their range of products and not doign the full bakery lineup. They probably call it specialising. Bakers Delight dosent do pies. Pie Face dosent do bread. None of them do a good vanilla slice.
Speaking of Pie Face I think they may be some kind of passive invasion. The bloody things are everywhere, even one in my building. They started sneaking in a year or so ago, more recently exploding to the point where more of less every drunk staggering out of a Melbourne bar is within a couple of minute stagger of grabbing one of their face’d pies and staining their shirt with gravy. They arnt terrible, but they are far from the best ever pie youve had. More to the point it’s not really a bakery.
I actually think the chain bakeries and bottle shops are bringing the good ones down as they try and complete on price. There is seldom any competing on quality.
So chain stores I think the world is a little worse off thanks to you. To all the independent bakers and bottleo’s stick at it. Will be aiming my business your way.
Some of the good guys I like;
- More or less any country bakery
- Noisette (that’s probably spelled wrong) in Port Melbourne
- Slow Beer
- Purvis Beer
- Seddon Sourdough
That’s just a couple to get you going and thats enough of a rant for today.