Pratik & Bee: Not Just A Corner Shop

How a Leicestershire couple transformed a family newsagent into a thriving showcase of local produce

In early 2019, Pratik Master ran a restaurant, and his wife Bee worked in a pharmacy. Fast forward through four tumultuous years and they are partners in a business providing a compelling showcase for Leicestershire produce.

The change came when Pratik’s dad told them he wanted to retire from the family’s corner shop on a suburban estate in Wigston. Neither of them wanted to work in a traditional corner shop. But they developed a vision of something different.

“I wanted a shop we would enjoy,” he explains. That meant ditching the big brand staples, avoiding competing with supermarkets and focusing on local craft producers.

“I was wary at first,” admits Bee. “Could we make it work here – with minimal footfall or passing trade? Would people understand what we were trying to do?”

But on their opening day, featuring local producers showcasing their products on-site, over 1,000 people turned up, and the couple were on their way.

“We started with basics – but better,” explains Pratik. “Bread, milk and eggs from top local suppliers. Then cheese, cakes, wines, beers and even craft rum from Leicestershire producer Lazy Dog. We offer our own curries and we stock food and drink from 57 different local producers.”

“It’s great dealing directly with producers,” adds Bee. “They pop into the shop, and we’ll visit places such as Vine Farm dairy to learn all about the produce.”

For what remains a small shop, volumes can be high. For some producers, it means a side hustle can be turned into a full-time business. “We’re selling over a thousand samosas a week, 900 cobs, and I had no idea people were so keen on sourdough bread!” says Bee.

So what makes it work? For Pratik, the key is engagement – building solid relationships with customers and suppliers. He is constantly on social media, finding out what people want. “You have to keep it evolving. Easier to say than to do, but when you live and breathe local produce, it’s a joy!”

  1. wigston deli
    Wigston Fields News & Deli is a family-run Leicester corner shop turned local food hub by owners Pratik & Bee Master. They replaced standard products with hundreds of local artisan alternatives, including Simply Cider, Hambleton Bakery and Drivers Pickles. As a result, they were named 2020 Food Heroes of the Year by the Great Food Club.
    1. 1 Jan 202431 Dec 2024