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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Lottie Gibbons

Farm shop named one of best in the UK started in Liverpool school playground

A farm shop and delicatessen, named one of the best in the country, started on a school playground in Liverpool.

Kami's West Derby on Eaton Road is one of nine businesses shortlisted in the North West category at the Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards 2023.

The farm shop and deli opened in February 2022 by West Derby natives Nicola and Miles Kami. Nicola, 35, said she always dreamed of starting a restaurant but was concerned about her professional background, having been let go of her job in finance at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020.

She said: "It has always been my dream to open a restaurant, like forever, but I had no background as a chef, so it was a bit daunting.

"I spent a couple of years at home with the kids because of Covid and it came to a point where I had to start thinking about going back to work but I didn't want to go back into finance, it just wasn't me."

But while doing the school run one day, Nicola's sister heard in the playground about a vacant newsagents in West Derby.

Nicola's son outside Kami's West Derby on Eaton Road (Nicola Kami)

Nicola said: "My sister's son goes to school with the old owner of the shop and she had heard in the playground that the shop was available.

"I said to my husband, 'I don't know what we're gonna do with this, but I just feel like the shop is definitely for us'."

She continued: "We had signed the lease and everything before we even knew what we were going to do with it.

"Then one night, I just said, we really need something in our village. "There's no village shop, it's very much like bars, restaurants, things like that, so I said, we'll do something for the village and that's how the delicatessen and farm shop came about."

After renovating the space, Nicola set about curating the farm shop and deli's menu, some of which have remained bestsellers since opening. Nicola said: "People love our homemade sausage rolls, everything we sell is fresh and homemade.

"We sell a tuna and apple pasta dish, and everyone always says 'tuna and pasta, they don't sound like they go together', but it was my nan's recipe and it was the first dish that we put on the menu when we opened.

"It's remained on the menu the whole year and when I have gone to change it, the one thing people say is 'do not take the tuna and apple off'."

Inside Kami's West Derby which is a finalist in the Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards 2023 (Nicola Kami)

It's no surprise, therefore, that Nicola says around 70% of her custom is repeat business. She said: "There's a real community spirit here that's not like anywhere else...

"Some people come in [Kami's] every single day, for example, one of our customers, she'll visit every day and if I haven't seen her for a couple of days I'll start to get worried."

Nicola added: "We have the most supportive customers, you know, we are a small family business and we have two children, so if one of the kids isn't well and we can't come in, and I've had to put a post up saying we're closed, everyone is in the next day asking after the kids.

"The way we've been received here, it's been amazing."

Despite the popularity of Kami's, Nicola said she and Miles were shocked to become finalists in the Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards. She said: "We were over the moon, I wouldn't have dreamed in our first year that we could be a finalist.

"They sent us a sticker and I ran to the window to put it up and they sent us a greeting card, which we've got on the counter. I said even if we don't win, I'm not bothered, just getting nominated is incredible."

The winners will be revealed live from Farm Shop & Deli Show, at the NEC Birmingham on Tuesday, April 25.

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