"Mine was a very successful shop until this One Stop store opened and now my takings have plummeted by almost 50% and I know that other small shops in the area are also suffering."
To summarise, the first blow came when Sam discovered that One Stop had a free ATM. The Hanco ATM in his shop charged £1.99 for withdrawals so consequently it wasn't too long before no one was using it.
"We had to have it removed. I have to say Hanco were very sympathetic when they heard my story and removed the machine free of charge."
For nearly six years Sam has attempted to get the National Lottery installed.
"One Stop opens for business and guess what? They have a Lottery terminal. To try and win back some customers I applied for a PayPoint terminal. Over the last year I have applied three times and each time I have been refused on the grounds that other shops in our area have a PayPoint terminal. Now I find that just a few days ago PayPoint installed a terminal in One Stop. More than 400 people a week are walking past my shop to get to One Stop for top-ups."
My first suggestions to Sam were Payzone, Camelot's Scratchcards and perhaps some bite-the-bullet investment into an area not exploited by One Stop such a deli or in-store bakery.
I also suggested that he shout about his prices. It might be owned by Tesco, but One Stop still has a head office to support.Unfortunately, Payzone already supplies six shops with terminals in Sam's postcode but Barclaycard has expressed an interest. He is going to apply for Scratchcards and is now testing food-to-go by selling hot and cold sandwiches which seem to be taking off.
Both Sam and I would be interested in hearing from anyone in a similar situation who has made a good fist of it.