If your preparation for a self catering holiday at Tegfan involves tracking down the nearest Tesco and putting in your normal order plus some extras, please pause for a moment. There is an alternative to consider.
Driving along Feidr Fawr to Kiel House will take you 3 or 4 minutes; walking along the lovely Feidr Fach will take you 10 minutes and your custom will support a valued community resource for this small village.
Dinas’s village shop is surprisingly well-stocked. As well as the staples, there’s pesto and olives, not to mention local honey, dressed crab, pembrokeshire cheeses and other very local products on the shelves.
And the kindness of the shop-keepers is legendary:
The owners of Kiel House, in Dinas Cross, are “chuffed to bits” after scooping three prestigious awards in five months.
Philip and Meinir Simpson have run the busy local store for the past eight years. Their hard work was recognised in May when, as reported in the Western Telegraph, they won the Pro Retail Spirit of the Community award.
Since then the accolades have started to roll in. The couple won the My Shop is Your Shop gold award two months ago and more recently the Independent Achiever’s Academy Top 100 award, singling them out as one of the best 100 independent shops in the UK.
The awards were judged by mystery shoppers, who visited Kiel House unbeknown to its owners. “The first thing we knew about it was the certificate coming through the post,” said Philip. “I was pleased but I didn’t much look at it. It was only a few days later I realised what it was. I’m chuffed to bits with that. There’s a lot of shops in the country.”Philip and Meinir have worked hard to make Kiel House more than a village shop. They deliver to elderly customers and holiday cottages, run a laundry and dry cleaning drop off point, advertise local events and support local charities. Both are ardent fundraisers for Cardigan’s MS centre.
They are also first responders, who go to the aid of elderly customers if a personal alarm is set off, and check up on their regulars if they don’t come in for a couple of days. “I think the shop is an important part of the local community,” said Philip. “People meet here, see their friends and catch up with what’s going on in the area.”
When asked if the shop was in the running for any more awards he said: “I’ll keep an eye on the post.”
One minute’s walk from Kiel house, behind the petrol pumps, is another small shop. At one end is the post office; the rest of the shop has a range of everyday essentials and wonderful treats – such as home-made bara brith, sponges and cup cakes.
And for anyone who needs more than a hint from me to change the habit of a life-time, I suggest Dr Thomas Hastings’ report at the Saïd Business School (University of Oxford). If you can tolerate wide-spacing and big margins on the screen, his work on The social and economic importance of convenience stores makes for interesting reading.