We dare you to try and walk past the window of Starter Culture in the city’s Southside without stopping to stare at the amazing range of products on display.

There are local cheeses, jars filled with artisanal pickles and preserves and one of the most tempting selections of freshly baked loaves we’ve ever seen.

Even Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge was reported to have dropped an eye-watering sum on purchasing some of the shop's bespoke gift hampers while filming in the city.

Having just celebrated their two-year birthday, owner Rachna Dheer says the secret to their success is as simple as offering great quality, locally sourced products.

Glasgow Times: Pictured: Rachna Dheer owns Starter Culture in the SouthsidePictured: Rachna Dheer owns Starter Culture in the Southside

No stranger to the Glasgow food scene before starting the shop she told the Glasgow Times: “For a good ten years I used to run the Babu Bombay Street Kitchen which was one of the first street food traders in Scotland.

“I live in the Southside myself and while I was doing street food I would always have to go to the West end to pick up my cheeses.

“It was a gap in the market, so we decided to give Starter Culture a go as a pop-up cheese endeavour when we got our keys back in 2018.

“It was very successful and we completely sold out which encouraged us to make a real go of it.”

Rachna’s previous experience as an independent trader played a huge part in her plans to open the shop.

Glasgow Times: Pictured: Rachna serves Gorgonzola by the scoopPictured: Rachna serves Gorgonzola by the scoop

Knowing the resilience and skills which are needed to make it in the industry she said: “I had always traded at markets before so I had all of these great contacts with local micro-producers who I was able to ask about selling their products in the shop.

“Once we started to make a bit of a name for ourselves, a lot of local producers came to us to ask if we would be interested in stocking them.

“Although our original plan was just to have an artisan cheese shop, it soon became about giving these great small businesses a showcase. That’s what we pride ourselves in doing.

“I’ve been the small guy myself so I get it. I know what it feels like to be standing at a market stall in the rain or the snow trying to sell their products.

“It even takes so much work to get to the point where you have a stall so it’s great to be able to give them a platform in the shop.”

Glasgow Times: Pictured: Just some of Starter Cultures massive range of cheesesPictured: Just some of Starter Cultures massive range of cheeses

When it comes to location, Starter Culture has found a perfect home on Pollokshaws road where a strong sense of community and appreciation for keeping it local means that they’ve now become a celebrated neighbourhood fixture.

Rachna said: “If you look at Shawlands right now you won’t see any big coffee or restaurant chains, it’s all independent shops doing our best to survive.

“I think the Southside has that kind of really supportive customer base that wants small businesses to succeed.

“People also appreciate that we always do our best to find local producers because with big issues like climate change it’s the best way forward.

“It’s the kind of shop where you can come in, ask for a product and we’ll do our best to stock it for you, or sometimes be able to introduce you to something similar that’s made just down the road.

“Ed’s Bees Honey is a great example; a lot of people don’t realise they keep hives all over Shawlands and the health benefits are so much better because it’s so local.”

Glasgow Times: Pictured: Single Cask Whisky is sold with reusable bottlesPictured: Single Cask Whisky is sold with reusable bottles

Rachna’s love for the community she works in is clear to see and something that she says helped to drive them through the challenges the team at Starter Culture faced while working through the pandemic.

She said: “It’s been a crazy few years. We hadn’t even been open for six months when covid hit and we had to completely change our business model.

“We went from being a specialist retail shop to offering a delivery service and expanding our range to include store cupboard essentials like bread or eggs.

“We felt that if people had come to the shop and supported us when we opened, it was up to us to provide them with what they were needing during lockdown.

“There were so many obstacles to overcome, but we didn’t shut the shop once.

“We didn’t want to let our customers down.”

Having made it to the other side of multiple lockdowns, the busy team at Starter Culture are back in full force, stocking everything from single cask whiskey to the creamiest of Gorgonzolas and even taking on a stall at the new regular Shawlands markets at Langside Halls.

It’s an exciting new direction for the shop, but one that Rachna sees as a natural progression.

She said: “With my street food background it was a no brainer for me.

“We a selection of grilled cheese sandwiches including one with peanut butter.

“The ingredients speak for themselves. We use real sourdough, not just ordinary bread and then cheese from our shop and independently produced peanut butter.

“The crispiness of the bread and the gooey cheese with a bit of crunch from peanut butter is just heaven.

“I’m a massive foodie so combining the two passions I have for street food and the shop feels fantastic. I feel like this is exactly the way things were supposed to happen.”

A love for food is an essential attribute for the staff at Starter Culture who regularly partake in team days out to local dairies or distilleries to gain a more meaningful understanding of the products they sell.

It’s a wholesome, almost old-fashioned approach and one that makes the experience of visiting the shop all the more special.

Rachna said: “We won’t sell anything that we don’t believe in.

“There’s a supermarket right next door so I’m not competing for the best prices.

“I’m competing with what’s best for your palate and the stories behind the food.

“It’s all about making that connection from the farmer, to the milk, to the product, to the grilled cheese that you’re holding in your hand.

“It’s not just from a packet, there’s so much more to it.”

As they enjoy their well deserved birthday celebrations and look back over what has been a make or break year, Rachna feels confident that the strong ethos and values that Starter Culture was built on will see them grow further still.

“What would I really like to do? I’d like to take the shop and replicate it in say Bearsden or Dennistoun, or maybe even start a smaller grilled cheese place on Victoria road.

“It’s like there’s a growing network of all these amazing micro-producers so it would be great to showcase some from other areas. What other stories could we hear, who else could we help to promote?

“The opportunities and ideas are endless, why not share the love?”

For more information on Starter Culture click here.