The recent bad weather brought a welcome lift to what is traditionally the quietest trading period of the year and resulted in me trading up more than £4,000 for the week.

My stores are situated on a hill, and if the snow settles it is virtually impossible to drive and we are more or less snowed in. The schools close, people can't get to work - or more importantly, the multiples - so I have a captive customer base.

Sales of newspapers, magazines, DVD rentals as well as all the comfort food sales such as confectionery, cakes and biscuits were all significantly up. By late afternoon I had sold out of milk and bread as the siege mentality started to set in and customers bought far more than they needed.

The difficulty was that I was also snowed in, so getting supplies was a problem. Fortunately, the smaller of the two stores was just about accessible to my delivered suppliers, so all the stock was dropped there.

I got a fantastic response from my staff, not only in helping to move all the stock and coping with the extra workload in the store, but I'm proud to say they all turned up to help, in some cases having to walk several miles to get in. You sometimes need situations like this to remind you of the contribution and support your staff give you.

There were quite a lot of new faces to be seen in the stores, probably customers who have moved into the area but have never chosen to visit us, and what better opportunity to demonstrate what services we can provide. I am confident that we will have gained new customers as a result.

There were some downsides, though. I was physically exhausted at the end of it. Also two of my staff, younger ones I hasten to add, with no fear of the icy conditions, are off work with broken bones.

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