SHETLAND’s first grocery shop dedicated to selling food to the islands’ growing community of East Europeans has opened its doors in Lerwick.
International Taste opened on Commercial Street on Monday and it sells products from countries such as Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Romania and Hungary.
The store – located in the former JK Mainland butcher premises – is the brainchild of businessman Tadas Zebrauskas, who took over the Staney Hill shop a few years ago after moving to Shetland from Lithuania with his wife.
He began introducing more foreign food into the Norstane shop to cater for demand before acknowledging it was time to create a dedicated store and revert the Staney Hill business back to its local roots.
“It wasn’t really fair, because the Staney Hill shop always used to be the community shop, for the local folk,” Zebrauskas said.
“So we decided to move the foreign foods from there to the street. We won’t be selling foreign food in the Staney Hill shop anymore, except for maybe a couple of things.”
Items on offer at International Taste include biscuits, meats, sauces, snacks, cheese and dairy items, with Zebrauskas keen to provide something “different and interesting” on Lerwick’s Commercial Street.
Stock will rotate depending on popularity and customer interest, with fresher items like gherkins and apples in line to be introduced.
Bucking a trend by opening a grocery store in the town despite the power of two supermarkets, the businessman is hopeful that the shop’s wide choice of items will prevail.
It also offers a boost to Lerwick’s Commercial Street, which has seen established shops such as Scottish Hydro Electric and Dennis Coutts Photographers shutting their doors for good recently.
“Big supermarkets can always beat you on the price, but you can try your best and offer something different,” Zebrauskas said.
“We thought at the start to make it half local, half foreign, like the Staney Hill shop, but then I thought ‘why would I need to compete with anybody on the street?'”
International Taste won’t be 100 per cent foreign, however, with a few high-demand perishable items due to be sourced locally.
“We will sell some local products, like Shetland milk and loaves of bread,” Zebrauskas said.