The shop has been owned by Ian Evans since 2001. He has loyally served the village by running the shop and Post Office for the last 18 years and many villagers have benefited from his quiet, often unseen kindness.
We have asked Ian to summarize the current situation and have included his thoughts in his own words here.
Of course, to survive any shop will need the community to use it so its key to involve everyone in deciding what is wanted. We plan to operate the community shop as follows:
The community shop will rent space from the village hall at favourable terms.
The community shop will be set up as a community benefit society (CBS), so any surplus can be ploughed back into the community. For more information about how CBSs work see our Community Shop Business Model page.
The shop will aim to generate sufficient income to cover its running costs and pay wages for a shop manager and a limited number of full or part time shop staff. To ensure it is financially viable the shop will also rely on local volunteer staff to help minimise these costs without compromising opening hours.
The new shop will have a retail area 2-3 times the size of our existing shop which means we can stock a much wider range of products. We are looking to bake fresh bread each day on the premises and have a range of fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. The aim is it will stock everything for a weekly shop, encouraging more people to use the shop and increasing the amount each customer spends there.
We will stock local produce wherever possible and are working on a list of the many potential suppliers around us.
In the SOS survey many people felt the hub should include a café so we have started a feasibility study to see what we can achieve in the space available.
We have also started a feasibility study into reducing the amount of single use plastic in the shop and are networking with local experts in this field.
Hub-based Community Shop and Post Office
The community shop and Post Office WILL NOT operate in competition with the current shop/Post Office. One will replace the other and, the plan is that Ian will continue to operate the post office within the hub.
Shop trade has been steadily decreasing over the last 5 years and is now at such a low level that after costs the shop makes a loss. There are two main reasons:
The number of customers using the shop has been steadily decreasing over the last 5 years.
The shop is too small to offer a wide product range and, in any way, compete with the prices of the big chains.
IIn light of this, Ian finds it hard to justify the 70 hours a week he is currently working and is seriously considering closing the shop outside the post office opening hours or possibly altogether. He would continue to run the post office for the 25 hours a week he is contracted to do so, at least preserving this service for the village.
The hub team's current hope is for Ian to transfer the post office to the hub when it is built and to continue to run it from this new location for as long as he wishes. This would allow Ian to close the existing shop premises and for them to be changed to a residential use.
The hub would benefit from Ian's long-standing retail experience and the additional footfall generated by the Post Office.