Tonbridge High Street never sits still, does it? It seems as though it’s constantly evolving which is great for us and great for Tonbridge as a whole. I want to focus on one place which is perhaps the most recent to start to shake up its space and that’s Tailor Made Wine Library.
If we set the scene, Tailor Made used to be an off licence and a large one at that. Sandwiched between The Gatehouse and the Hospice in the Weald furniture shop, it has quite an imposing presence and with the new owners and new window displays, that looks set to continue.
The new proprietors, Kamila and Sacit, have moved down from East Dulwich in search of new adventures, was how Kamila put it. The couple have owned several shops in the past and have a strong track record of “turning places around,” Kamila says. On East Dulwich’s main street, Lordship Lane, they were the people behind a very successful organic food shop and deli called, Organic Village Market which sold organic vegetables and fine foods as well as boasting a deli counter and bakery selling mouth-watering home made Greek and Turkish delights – think babganoush, houmous, a wide selection of olives, Mediterranean breads and pastries. Tailor Made will follow this blue print for success whilst also continuing to sell alcohol.
When they first opened there were a few suggestions that the shop would just be another mini-mart, along the lines of Londis and One Stop and I have to agree that the Weetabix and Lemsip for sale do give off this impression. But, I met with Kamila at the end of August and I went in again this week and the shelves do seem to be going further down the lines of fine food. I was thrilled to see Kentish Oils on display, for example, and have urged the couple to stock more Kent produce. Now, there are more vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free foods on offer and, just as an example, the selection of beers appears to be more interesting – we’re not talking rows and rows of just Kronenbourg and Stella, say.
To date, Kamila and Sacit have been selling their breads and pastries at the weekend outside the shop and such has been the popularity that people have been coming in during the week requesting more of these moreish Med morsels. Well the good news is that the wait may soon be over for weekday treats as Sacit has recently installed his new bakery at the back of the shop to keep up with demand!
There are more changes to come as the current shop counter is due to be replaced with a seven metre deli counter in a few weeks which will be selling Kamila’s homemade dips and marinated olives and the shelves’ stock will continue to be assessed to ensure that they are providing something unique on Tonbridge High Street and keeping up with what customers want and need. The name will also be changing too …
The couple love Tonbridge and as local residents, they really enjoy their cycle to work through Haysden and the park. And it looks as though they’re here to stay: “We believe that this shop has a huge potential.”