“We’re in the process of opening a community store in a village in Worcestershire, so we spent a few days at the National Convenience Show in Birmingham, looking for ideas and checking out some suppliers. We were really on the hunt for epos and shopfitting suppliers so the show has been great for providing some ideas to get the shop up and running. We were also keen on getting information on some of the everyday categories such as newspapers and milk. There’s so much to organise when opening a new store, so it’s great to be able to have met so many suppliers, especially some of the local ones.
“We’re hoping it will open in June. We’ve put a lot of work into it and are now just concentrating on how it will run. The village store closed last year and the residents are forced to travel to the next town over to do their shopping. It’s obviously not ideal for a lot of people, especially the elderly, so we decided that we should do something about it and got the ball rolling with the plan of opening a community-run shop. It’ll be a small unit, but we’ll manage to fit in a decent range so that people won’t have to travel to pick up what they need.
“As a group, we have little experience with retail so we’re looking for all the help and advice we can get! We’ve received support from the Plunkett Foundation and people within the community have got involved. We also have lots of volunteers lined up ready and willing to work in the store, so we won’t be short of staff when it opens.
“We want to make it into a community space as there’s nothing in the area like this and it’s needed badly. Our local pub also closed last year so the area needs a lift. We hope that the store will become a hub for the community in which people will come together. It’s vital that local communities have spaces like this. The area really needs this so we’re confident that the community will get behind it and support the store.”