Trading at independent retailer David Worsfold’s innovative store in Cobham, Surrey, has commenced following the successful completion of a long and ambitious build.

Farrants, which has been trading in Cobham since 1896, has more than doubled in size and now features quirky and distinct zones including a confectionery corner, a tobacco “shop within a shop,” and a “kids zone” where children can help themselves to pick and mix.

The news and magazines section also features two large sofas and will soon be fitted with a free to use coffee machine for shoppers who sign up to the store’s Friends of Farrants loyalty scheme.

Dozens of local artefacts, including a centuries old bicycle discovered in the store’s attic, an 1877 Pinfire Revolver discovered by David in the local river Mole, and the engine of a Hawker Hurricane shot down over Cobham during the war, are prominently displayed all around the store in a bid to further engage shoppers and remind them the store’s long trading history and community ties.

Best-selling cigarettes and rolling tobacco brands are housed in draws beneath the store’s attractive “Mid Western” inspired wooden counter, while adult smokers who would like to purchase specialist tobacco products can enter a tobacco room behind the counter and browse the openly displayed range at their leisure.

The store also features a dedicated electronic cigarettes gantry with a vast choice of flavours and soon to open “testing bar” which will allow adult vapers to try before they buy.

“The design of this store reflects the changing way that people are shopping,” David told C-Store.

“People want their shops to serve more than just one purpose, they want them to be places where they can congregate, relax, and have fun as well as shop,” he said. “Shoppers have such a range of places where they can fulfil their shopping needs these days, including the internet, so to win their custom we have to offer them more reasons to visit, and we have to do it in a fun and engaging way which is what this store is all about,” he added. 

A double door at the rear of the store will soon lead out on to a decked area where shoppers will be able to sit and enjoy a tea or coffee away from the rush of the high-street.

The store also features a self-contained community room at the rear where David plans to hold craft workshops and new product tastings and demonstrations. The space will also be hired out to local groups such as the Women’s Institute.

The store’s basement is soon to be converted into a temperature-controlled smoking room where tobacco aficionados will be able to store and smoke their own cigars.