Independent store owners remain positive despite the recession and are finding ways to grow their businesses during troubled times.

Dave Smith, who owns Smith's Corner Store in Grimoldby, Lincolnshire, said that while he had heard plenty of talk of the recession, it hadn't yet affected his trade. "I haven't really noticed that much change in business," he said. "I would see the rise in costs to be more of a threat to businesses than the decrease in public spending."

Dave believes the key to surviving is to put across a message of good value to customers. He said: "If we can convince our customers that they are saving money, then it shouldn't be a problem. This is good for us because if customers see that they are paying less for staple goods then they are more likely to spend more on other products."

Alec Hunter of Hunter's Convenience Store in Dagenham, Essex, said that even though he had seen some decline in business, he wasn't too worried. "The fall has been nothing significant. Recession or no recession, if you're running your business right and presenting your products properly, there's no reason why a retailer shouldn't make a decent living."

Atul Sodha, who owns a Londis store in Harefield, Middlesex, agrees that a good value message is important. "Conveying that message builds trust with your customers," he said. "Getting involved in the community and speaking to other local businesses is another way to keep customer support."

He added: "Retailers must keep their business stable during the downturn and be ready to grow once the recovery starts."
We ask: Would you change what you do?

❝ Nothing will ever make me leave retail, I love it!"

Atul Sodha

Londis, Harefield, Middlesex

❝ Even though I've retired I still enjoy working in the store. My daughter and son-in-law now run the business and they have no desire to stop now."

Alec Hunter

Hunter's Convenience Store, Dagenham, Essex

❝ The past few months have been tough, but I wouldn't think of getting out."

R Sahata

R & H Newsagents, Blackpool

❝ Business has been hit hard, but I'm probably too old to be doing anything else! I'll be here until I retire."

Graham Tarrant

The Corner Shop, Bournemouth