Try Ashbourne First: #13 The Olive Tree – The place to go when you don’t know where to go




There is much like about The Olive Tree but first of all it is a beautiful shop. Owners Paula and Nikki Taylor have created a lovely light space. When I visited, the Spring sunshine was pouring in and the items for sale are displayed beautifully.

Try Ashbourne First is about encouraging people who live in and around the town to at least try the local independent retailers before shopping on-line or going to out-of-town shopping centres. Every pound spent locally puts money into the local economy throught he retailers themselves, their staff and their suppliers. The Olive Tree is a fine example of that principle.

At heart it is a gift shop with gifts for every pocket. The difference is in the buying. Nikki and Paul look for items made by local craftspeople or items that you won’t find in the big retailers or other local suppliers. The result is an airy Aladdin’s sunroom over two floors which rewards a good browse.

20130330_093802An example are these wine glass charms which are made locally and which are unique but at the same time affordable – a great gift to take to a dinner party, housewarming, wedding or engagement. There is only one set on display so you are guaranteed not to find someone else with the same idea.

There is a huge range of items from jewellery, mirrors, ornaments, pieces of furniture, paintings and pottery – all carefully selected.

Upstairs is a further display and the setting of the shop comes into its own. It has a great position on the cobbles overlooking St John Street. The presentation of the stock is lovely. The owners have used a clever combination of cabinets, tables, and 20130330_094153glass cases to really show off the items at their best and if you can’t find inspiration yourself, the friendly staff are on hand to show you the kind of things you will like.

Ashbourne is lucky to have independent retailers like the Olive Tree. The owners have created a shop which will attract tourists and make tourists glad they visited but it also offers local people a great place to buy gifts and furnishings. Nikki and Paul put a lot of effort into presenting their shop well and buying the kind of things their customers like. They know the pitfalls of creating a “me-too” shop where the stock looks identical to the last shop you visited and the one next door. This is a real challenge in a competitive market,

20130330_093650They are also innovative. They do have a website at but they don’t sell through the site for good reason. The items they sell are often fragile, need to be seen to be appreciated and also they are often one-offs which could be gone before the website can be updated. In what is possibly a first for Ashbourne The Olive Tree will shortly have a virtual presence with Google Places allowing you to investigate a 360 degree panorama of the inside of the shop.

There is no point in trying to do a price comparison with The Olive Tree. The items are not available at major stores. Just visit and talk to the team they have gifts for every pocket and are great ambassadors for our high street.

About justaukcook

/kʊk/ Not a chef, not an epicure, not a foodie. Just one who likes to prepare food – What really happens in the kitchen and on the high street is what I write about. Follow me on Twitter @Justaukcook and on
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