For many people, the last year has involved major career changes.
Owners of new Bruntsfield shop, The Bear’s Larder, Kit Binnie, 33, and Tim Henshaw, 35, are a good case in point.
Binnie worked for online brands including Spotify and Bumble, and Henshaw was a stage manager in London’s West End.
After this couple’s careers were affected by the pandemic, the “massive foodies” decided to take the leap, move (along with their French bulldog, Rufus) from London to Scotland’s capital and start entirely new careers as proprietors of what they call “an urban farm store”.
“We decided last summer during lockdown that it was time for us to forge something positive out of the whole experience,” says Binnie. “We had both been working high pressure jobs and were ready to leave the London commute behind.”
They found the ideal premises just after Christmas 2020, and their new shop has opened at 15 Colinton Road, in the former premises of Scandinavian homeware retailer Spektakular.
“We were pretty new to the city but, having explored a few areas, we really loved the community and village vibe of Bruntsfield and Morningside”, says Binnie. “There’s great energy and everyone has been really supportive. We’re looking forward to getting out there and building relationships in the community”.
Edinburgh business, Thomas Paints (who also worked on the window of the next door restaurant, Fin & Grape), has painted their name on the lintel and the window, with a smart gilded script.
The interior has also been transformed. It’s now forest green, with glossy tiles at the back, a huge swag of Gloam dried flowers over a doorway, and shelving units that are packed with colourful products. There are cans of sardines from Ortiz, Ocelot chocolate, the Edinburgh Honey Co’s jars, black and white puddings from Fruit Pig, Machina coffee and Single Variety Co jams, and they’ll be launching a fruit and vegetable delivery box scheme in May. There’s definitely a decent proportion of Scottish produce in the mix.
“We made the commitment early on to work with, support and champion local, small scale and independent producers whenever possible”, Binnie says. “We’re deeply rooted around the concept of “home" and the importance of the comfort and sustenance a well stocked larder provides”.
As well as takeaway coffee, they also serve cakes, sometimes made by Binnie, who did a summer internship at London’s Violet Bakery.
You might find sea salted chocolate cookies, as well as beetroot feta and za’atar spelt focaccia (there’s also a wild garlic and woodland mushroom version), or rhubarb and ginger bakewell.
In pride of place, in the middle of the floor, is a table that’s stacked with organic fresh fruit and vegetables, and a set of vintage scales, which still work, though do their measuring in ounces. They’ve curated an excellent range of goodies, from the bare necessities to fancy treats, and that’s how they decided on their name. It’s nothing to do with Goldilocks.
“Handily, when we were thinking of branding for our business we realised that a bear is the perfect figurehead as they’ve got such a varied omnivorous diet," says Binnie. “If any animal was to have a well stocked larder it would be a bear”.