Well, that’s Halloween been and gone in what must be the quickest year I can remember! We had a shop full of mini witches, vampires and ghouls. It was all a bit chaotic, but the local children had a ball, and they are the customers of the future after all!

Halloween was pretty good sales-wise, but as usual not much sold until the last two days, which means that you need to keep your nerve! It definitely helps if you decorate the shop and create a bit of atmosphere.

So the next biggie is Christmas, and with Small Business Saturday falling on 7 December, we are planning to run an array of in-store activity on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The initiative, which started in the United States in 2010 has been hugely successful and we are really hopeful that it will be replicated in the UK.

Our own three-day event will not only help raise awareness of the importance of small businesses and especially convenience stores, but will also give our customers a bit of pre-Christmas cheer at the same time.

So, we are liaising with some of our suppliers to provide drinks (hard and soft), nibbles, and money-off coupons. We will also run our ever popular charity tombola, the proceeds of which will go towards “presents from Santa” for the children who attend our local SureStart scheme.

And for the little ones in-store we will have a “Santa’s Sack” of little presents to keep excitement levels up! It’s a great way of differentiating your store from the competition, especially at this time of year, which is so often just all about money. In the fight against the multiples at Christmas we can’t win on price, so we need to think a little differently! Now where did I put that Father Christmas outfit for Dennis…