‘If you build it, he will come,’ from Field of Dreams is one of the most famous movie quotations of all time.
It applies equally to The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop!
In just two weeks in March we personally welcomed a Chinese TV crew, a group of international food bloggers, two groups of school pupils, hotel hospitality staff and one of our biggest social media fans.
“It really is amazing how so many interesting and diverse people find their way to us,” said Joanne Hunter, co-owner of Grasmere Gingerbread®.
“Our actual shop is only big enough for six customers at a time yet hundreds of thousands pass through every year.”
For Maria Carey her personal tour was a dream come true.
“Maria is one of our biggest Facebook fans,” explained Yasmine Hunter, Grasmere Gingerbread® 4th Generation Sales, Marketing and Events Executive.
“She’s always the first to comment on our posts and is always so bubbly and enthusiastic and positive,” explained Yasmine.
“When she told us she was in the Lake District with her husband Dominic we asked them to call in.
“We gave them a private tour of the shop, bakery and offices and they met all the staff.”
Afterwards, Maria described it as the highlight of her year!
Earlier, Andrew Hunter, co-owner of Grasmere Gingerbread® and Head Baker, greeted six Chinese food bloggers who were exploring the area.
“They were so informed about us, so polite and so friendly,” said Andrew.
“These days, the way online information flies around the world in seconds, it’s easy to forget that real people are behind all the posts that pop up all kinds of forums.
“We get a lot of support from Chinese customers so it was great to be able to thank some of their country’s bloggers whose articles have attracted them here in the first place.”
Closer to home and housekeeping staff from the Low Wood Hotel at Windermere enjoyed a familiarisation visit with Joanne.
“These are the people who actually put Grasmere Gingerbread® into all the bedrooms of the guests so I was delighted to be able to tell them about our history,” she said.
This is the second group from English Lakes Hotels to visit the shop; the first came from the Waterhead Hotel in Ambleside.
“It’s innovative of ELH to invest in their staff this way. It gives them extra knowledge about us in case their guests start to ask questions after eating Grasmere Gingerbread®,” said Joanne.
The Chinese theme continued when a TV crew from Beijing popped in to film the shop ‘live’ on a smartphone!
“It was incredible to think that this small gadget enabled millions of people on the other side of the world watching us going about our daily work,” said Andrew.
Finally, pupils of two schools, from Cumbria and Bradford, arrived for lessons in the social history of Grasmere Gingerbread® – delivered personally by Joanne.
“They especially loved it when I explained that Sarah Nelson – who invented Grasmere Gingerbread® in 1854 – actually taught local children to read using real Grasmere Gingerbread® letters,” she said.
And that was the fortnight that was: just two weeks in March 2018 when the world came to Grasmere and stories about Grasmere Gingerbread® went out to the world!