Independent retailer David Worlsfold, of Farrants in Cobham Surrey, is preparing to launch a crowdfunding website in a bid to raise money for the second stage of his ambitious store development plan.
The ground-floor of the store underwent a significant extension and refurbishment in 2015, including the addition of a dedicated tobacco room with a large cigar humidor, indoor and outdoor community space, plus a kids confectionery and toy zone. The store also features sofas within the news and magazines section where shoppers are encouraged to sit and relax.
The second stage of the build will see David transform the store’s large underground cellar into an exclusive cigar smoking room for members.
David anticipates the build to cost in the region of £80,000.
“We are just starting conversations about this now but we will probably be asking our supporters for around £5,000 each with a buy back option in 10 years’ time,” he said.
“That money will grant them membership and free entry into the cigar smoking room, as well as a discount on the cigars themselves. We are fortunate to have a number of true cigar aficionados among our clientele, people who would really value the use of such a facility.”
Sales at the 120-year old store are currently up 3.8% year on year despite the slowdown in tobacco sales, with growth coming from new categories including healthy snacking, American confectionery, electronic cigarettes and children’s novelty products including spinners and, more recently, “slime.”
The new year will also see David invest in branding, with new staff uniforms and the launch of a Farrant’s sugar confectionery line, in partnership with a key UK supplier.