Great Village Shops

We Could Have a Top Village Shop.

Harry Wallop of The Daily Telegraph talks about village shops, their position in the community, their decline over the last 10 years, but their apparent recent resurgence.

…on the morning I visit, the shop has a continuous stream of customers, either popping in to pick up a newspaper and pint of milk, or lingering over coffee and cake. Peter Bownes-Johnson, one of those chatting with friends over tea, says: “It lends a wonderful degree of civility to the village. If it wasn’t here, the village would be dead. It’d be dead. Where would we meet?”

… According to the Rural Shops Alliance (RSA) there are now 12,000 village shops in the country – 50 per cent fewer than a decade ago. But people are changing the way they shop, as Tesco has discovered to its cost in the last couple of years. The big, weekly shop at the out-of-town hypermarket is starting to be replaced by smaller, more frequent top-up shops at local stores. James Lowman, chief executive at the Association of Convenience Stores, says: “People are increasingly keen to shop close to where they live. You’ve got an ageing population, you’ve got more single-person households, and people want to shop little and often. Village shops should be well placed to take advantage of these trends.”

It would appear that there is great potential for our shop if we do it right. One of the keys, in the article, is a “broad but shallow” range. So we offer beans but not a choice of brands of beans. And, as a community shop, we will be able to get feedback from the customers and quickly change an unpopular brand.

Another key point is “value”, which is mentioned in our Vision document – it is great to have gourmet products, that look attractive and entice the wealthy to visit, but it is equally important to stock the staples, at budget prices, that everyone needs.

Please read the original article in the Weekend Supplement of the 23rd April edition of the Telegraph or in the online edition of the paper here.