A unique shop that sells a variety of products, including baked goods and apparel, has opened in Southampton.
Alicia Tucker, 32, owner of Tuck Shop, located at 235 Middle Road, has been in the food industry for most of her life.
“My family owns Island Cuisine restaurant, which is right next door to Tuck Shop, I have been managing it since its opening,” Ms Tucker said. “I consider Tuck Shop the baby sister to Island Cuisine.”
She has also been one of the main bakers for the family-owned restaurant and is known for her famous chocolate cake.
“I have a following and people have asked me over the years when I’m going to open my bakery,” she said.
Tuck Shop has been a long-held dream for Ms Tucker and, with hard work and prayer, she is finally seeing her dream come to fruition.
Ms Tucker decorated the store, which is spacious and airy.
At the front of the shop it’s all baked goods, which are made fresh daily, including homemade cakes, pasties, mille-feuille, apple turnovers, and more.
Ms Tucker has adopted a healthy lifestyle and prides her shop on being eco-conscious and environmentally friendly.
“All the pastries and baked goods are made with organic sugar, unbleached flour and aluminium-free baking powder, real butter and eggs, all natural ingredients and non-GMO”, she added.
When the shop first opened she did all the baking herself, but she has since hired a pastry chef, Francis Gomes from Bangladesh.
“Francis is from a line of pastry chefs, his father and grandfather are pastry chefs,” Ms Tucker said.
Behind the bakery, in the rear of the shop, is the general store where she sells homemade items such as clothing, leather bags, shoes, lotions and body oils.
Being a mother to two young children, aged five and two, Ms Tucker understands the value of toys that are educational and safe.
“We have a children’ corner at the store where we sell learning toys and playdough, which is safe for young children because I make them myself from sea salt and vegetable food dye,” she said. “Should the child decide to put it in their mouth, they will be fine.”
She stressed that everything in the store is sustainable, ethically made and eco-conscious.
“I believe handmade items keep the trades alive,” she said. “A lot of jobs are being replaced by machines, that’s not just in fashion but in every industry.”
The general store also carries a jewellery collection which was started by Tibetan nuns, who were expelled from the country because they took part in a peaceful protest.
She believes in giving back and shopping with a purpose.
“I met this lady whom I admire, she owns a store in New York. I asked her for advice and she said make sure I sell things that I like to wear or use. I have adapted that concept and everything I have in my store I have used or tried on already,” Ms Tucker said.
“I read an article and I liked a motto in it saying ‘slow fashion is what farm is to table’.”
Slow fashion is considered the alternative to fast fashion and is part of what has been called the “slow movement”, which advocates good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.
When asked what makes Tuck Shop stand out, she replied: “I pride myself on originality. Ninety per cent of the things back there can’t be found elsewhere in Bermuda. I source items from India, France, the US West Coast, Mexico, Chile, and New York and I provide niche little items.”
In the future, she will not only be introducing fine jewellery to Tuck Shop general store but also making the desserts for Island Cuisine.
Ms Tucker added: “I am extremely thankful for what I have accomplished. It took a lot of prayer and dedication and I have a great support system. I could not do it without my construction team, Tara, Deon and Leroy who work at Noesis, Richard and Allen at Relentless and Luke from Skywalker Plumbing. They help make the impossible possible.”
She added that she could not have succeeded without her mother Audrey Tucker, stepfather Dean Rubaine, and her boyfriend Damien Richardson.
The store opening hours are from 11am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and will extend in the spring. For more information visit Instagram and Facebook @tuckshopbermuda