Flood-hit retailers Mark and Veronica Talbot are hoping to claw back vital trade with a temporary store set up in their local village hall in the Somerset Levels.
Sales at their Long Sutton store have slumped by more than 40% after the bridge over the river Yeo was closed to due to flooding, leaving them cut off from the main road.
“The bridge has been shut for five weeks and we don’t know when it will re-open,” Veronica told C-Store. “The store relies heavily on passing trade so with the bridge shut sales have fallen off a cliff. Some of our loyal local customers have been supporting us by making a 15-mile detour to get to us, but not everyone has the time.”
With the help of Spar wholesaler Appleby Westward, the local parish council and a team of unpaid volunteers, Mark and Veronica plan to set up a temporary store in the village hall, on the other side of the river, for a few hours each day until the bridge is re-opened.
“Appleby Westward has been a great support the drivers are just taking the longer road round to get to us and all of our deliveries are all getting through,” she said.
“Hopefully the temporary store will be successful and tide us over until the bridge re-opens. We are so grateful for all the help.
“We’ve been here for 12 years and never known the flooding to be as bad as this. Fortunately the store itself hasn’t been flooded.”