We hear about convenience stores operating at the “heart of the community” a great deal. We should all be proud of the work our sector does in communities, but how do local people rate us alongside other shops and services?

This month we’re launching the third Community Barometer that asks consumers, retailers and local councillors this exact question. The results once again show how c-stores are widely perceived as having the most positive impact on their local area. What’s more, even though there are 50,000 c-stores in Great Britain, people want to see more of them in their local area. That’s a pretty compelling endorsement.

The only service that was seen as having a more positive impact on the local community was the Post Office, and most of these are now included in c-stores.

We can also claim a part of the credit for the third most popular service: specialist food shops. C-stores are increasingly offering speciality and locally-sourced foods as part of their offering, sometimes developing partnerships with butchers and bakeries, so the top three most positive local services are a significant part of the modern c-store offering.

You’ll be hearing us talking about this research in the national and local media, but why not make your councillors aware of these findings? Next time you face a tricky issue with an alcohol licence variation, require more help tackling crime, or want to apply for business rate relief, let them know that your business isn’t just important to you, it’s a valued service operating right at the heart of your community.