A Spar store in Tavistock, Devon, has taken on the local tourist information centre after the council could no longer afford to run the service.

The self-serve information office is housed in a corner of the store, and all staff have been trained in local history in order to answer visitors’ general enquiries.

Store owner Ravi Jhangiani said: “I was approached by Tavistock BID (Business Improvement District) and was delighted to be able to take this on. It would have been a pity for Tavistock to have lost this important service, and this is our way of giving something back to the town.

“I believe we may be the first Spar or Post Office in the UK to be offering such a service in a convenience store. The tourist centre was only open two days a week, whereas we are open seven days a week from 7am-1pm, so we are able to offer a more extensive service.”

Tavistock’s tourist information centre received 22,000 visitors last year, with a peak of 4,000 in August.

“A point of difference is very important,” Ravi added. “There are two Co-ops, a Lidl and a Morrisons in Tavistock, and rumours of a Tesco coming too.”