WHEN walking down the local high street these days, its hard to spot a store or restaurant that isn’t part of a national chain — and if you really look around there isn’t all that much to distinguish what city you are in. Nearly 15,000 independent stores closed their doors last year, but another 16,000 opened theirs, so they must be doing something right.

Independent and local shops are what makes a town just that. Independent and unique.

That’s why it is vital to keep supporting our local shops that sell local produce to keep our towns as they are, and stop big commercial stores from taking over.

Welsh businessman David Brookes-Thomas, founder and managing director of Mount Ridge — a fine country living store on King St Carmarthen — is keen to keep people shopping locally and uses only locally produced products to sell in his store.

David worked in luxury fashion London for years, before deciding to move back to Wales and open his own independent store in Wales’s oldest town.

Mount Ridge opened in February this year and has been successful with local people who are keen to buy locally made Welsh and British products.

David said: “I decided on opening a shop in Carmarthen because I believe there is an abundance of local talent on our doorstep, that create wonderful handmade products.

“We make everything locally, and work with local blacksmiths, shops and traders to create our products.

“I am passionate about selling and creating local produce from Wales, and I think it is important to keep doing that.”

Only a couple of months after the shop opened in February , David was presented with the Made in Britain award in April.

This signifies that his work is produced locally and he intends to keep it that way.

David added: “The past week has been very busy with people who are visiting Carmarthenshire for the Eisteddfod, coming in the shop and taking a great interest in our products.

“The response from the people of Carmarthen has been tremendous and I would like to thank all of our customers for their continued support.”

Their popular handmade products are also sent worldwide to countries such as Japan and Chile.Adding to their impressive collection of stockists, the Farrow and Ball craftsmen in paint and paper will be selling their stock in Mount Ridge from September this year.

Visit the website at http://www.mountridge.co.uk, Twitter page @mount_ridge or Facebook page for information about the products on offer.

– The above was a lifestyle piece I wrote for the Carmarthne Journal. I had the pleasure of meeting this lovely man, and it was so nice to write a lifestyle piece with a bit of a twist 🙂

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