At the bottom of Holmeside sits an empty shop unit. It’s been empty for a few years now, and was for a while coated by the council with a marketing campaign titled “Shop Sunderland First” in a bid to support local businesses.
However, 20 years or so ago you may remember that a certain frozen food supermarket occupied this space known as “Sunderland Foods”, a name which may leave some of us overwhelmed with dread and horror.
Sunderland Foods was not just any frozen food store but a discount one which sold reject and out of date foods at knock down prices, marked with generic no brand labels. Of course its extremely cheap food made it an appealing option for some people, a notion which may not be out of place in today’s world given surging inflation and costs of living.
On the Ready to go forum, a former employee of the shop made some anonymous comments in respect to its business practices. He quoted: “I used to work in a freezer shop called Sunderland Foods on Holmeside. They used to make us tear the labels off out of date stuff and replace them with dates that the manager just made up. Shop was full of tramps anyway so not sure anyone cared.”
Despite its prices, Sunderland Foods did not survive and ultimately closed around 2006. It was likely put out of business due to the emergence of chain competitors that also sold cheap food, but with a more reliable quality. These days, stores such as Herrons, B&M and Home Bargains have absorbed this market.
Of course we don’t blame anyone for seeking cheaper food in these times, and it might be mentioned that it is far preferable for stores like this to exist than people being forced to use foodbanks. In its own way Sunderland Food was notorious and its business practices were too dodgy for many to accept, yet it might have been a necessary evil and for the common good.