So this is where one journey ends and another starts… I’ve now come to the end of my column charting the opening of our new store in Inkberrow and it’s time to forge ahead with my new venture.

Looking back at the past 12 months, the decision to join Simply Fresh and work in collaboration with Costcutter has definitely been the right one. Utilising Costcutter’s vast experience in shop fitting and adopting the ideas from Simply Fresh have given our new store the wow factor.

As well as wooing our customers with the look and feel of the store, we have been impressing locals with the range of suppliers, predominantly fine food specialists. Healthy snacks, fancy juices, a big variety of nuts and pulses and a focus on gluten-free have all worked a treat.

While the first month has raced by, we look forward to finalising the plans for our official launch day and driving the business forward by working with the local community. A recent ‘meet & greet’ session by the local councillors held outside the store was a great way of making the store the hub of the village. Similar ideas have been pencilled in for the year ahead.

Utilising technology in business has long been a passion of mine and my investment in it has been paying off. Although we kept the store characteristics rural, this does not mean the systems behind the scene are old. Once again, like my other stores, we opted to invest in Costcutter’s epos system, but this time with added smart tills. These new pieces of kit have already saved me lots of time in cashing up as the new tills automatically count the money in the cash drawer. Furthermore, after every transaction the display shows the operator whether their till is over or under. There were a few initial moans and groans from staff that the till kept displaying a message if the operator was balanced over or under, but it is my belief that ultimately the smart tills have resulted in a more focused style of work. Thus far, this has directly resulted in the tills balancing all of the time.

I hope you have found my monthly features enjoyable. May I take this opportunity to thank the many retailers and suppliers alike who have been so kind to convey how much they have enjoyed my work. I wish you all lots of success.