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Dunshalt Community Shop is celebrating becoming Fife’s first community-owned food retailer
recognised with brown tourism signposts.

The not-for-profit enterprise recently welcomed the arrival of two VisitScotland-accredited tourist signs – the first ever to grace the village.

As the first community-owned food retailer in Fife, The Dunshalt Community Shop has been at the forefront of the developing trend for local buyouts. This latest initiative to put the Fife village on the map was most keenly welcomed by Dunshalt Community Shop committee member Alison Crook who spearheaded the drive to install the street signs.

“It is great to finally see them here,” she said. “Dunshalt Community Shop has become the cornerstone of the village. It’s where people meet, stock up on groceries or grab a bite to eat. We wanted to install the brown signs because the ethos behind the shop is to support the local community as well as catering for visitors. While we’re well known in the village, we wanted to broaden our reach and help visitors find us. That’s where the brown signs come in, but as importantly, they are also a mark of quality.”

Dunshalt Community Shop opened its doors in 2020 and started the application process for the signposts at the beginning of 2023. The first step towards brown-sign approval was applying for the VisitScotland “Taste our Best” accreditation scheme; the official system celebrating businesses serving quality food and drink using locally sourced produce. Following an inspection which resulted in an overall quality score of 83% and a Scottish provenance score of 93%, the shop was deemed eligible to apply for official brown-sign status.

“It was a thorough process,” admits Alison, “but it was worth it because we learned a lot about the shop and how to project the business to different audiences. The cherry on the cake is having the brown signs up and being noticed, which will hopefully attract even more visitors to Dunshalt and the shop.”

The VisitScotland accreditation scheme noted that upon entering the shop it was “excellent to be able to identify… a high percentage of Scottish and local businesses which supply your produce”. Indeed, the shop is proud to stock items from a range of much-loved local suppliers including Luvians Bottle Shop, Hunters of Kinross and Fisher and Donaldson.

Brian Lawrie, who is also a Dunshalt Community Shop Committee member, noted: “I think it is a great achievement to gain the necessary accreditation to enable the shop to apply for the brown signs. But it’s not just an accomplishment for the shop, these are also the first brown signs to point towards Dunshalt. For a small community like ours, that means something.”

Dunshalt Community Shop has been supported and funded by a range of stakeholders, including the local community who took out shares in the enterprise. This latest idea was supported by the Fife Rural Development Fund which provided grant funding for the signs.