We have just finished our small refurbishment in Hassocks last week, with a view to freshen up the store prior to the arrival of Sainsbury’s Local. Customer feedback has been positive with many people believing we have extended!

We have also gone on a hunt for new local suppliers and are pleased to say we have been inundated. We have also just taken on a new community marketing manager for both stores, which we hope will cement some of the community food projects we run.

With my wife Lynette, and now new recruit Michelle concentrating fully on our community strategy, we can finally extend our vision to launch a commercial website and integrated loyalty card scheme. Exciting times ahead!

It has been unfortunate, then, seeing the problems other symbol groups have been having. I think anyone visiting the Convenience Store website would have had at least one wince at some of the comments on there. All independents will understand the frustration, but it was a little sad to see retailers in different symbols get so tribal so quickly.

To put things into context we had the new Sainsbury’s Local management walking our store. My assistant had a brief conversation with them in which the area manager was surprised to learn that we are an independent store – the comment was “but you are Budgens”. 

It’s a stark reminder that we barely register in the minds of the multiples, and that while we may love or hate our retail/wholesale partners we definitely need them. Being negative about each other’s symbol groups seems fruitless.