Your local village shop has undergone some fantastic new alterations over the last few months, the most obvious of course being their impressive new shop front. I spoke to its proprietor John Leak and son David to find out the incentives behind all the recent developments. He has owned and run the shop for just over five years now and admits that this is the first real investment he’s made as far as the building and shop fittings are concerned.
“Since the unfortunate lost of the post office counter in 2009 the future of the shop felt uncertain but we used it as an opportunity to vastly increase the number of lines and different products we now sell. We are very fortunate in Much Hoole to have great support from our customers and their loyalty has been crucial for the survival and success of the store. Now it’s our opportunity to improve the look and feel of the shop in an attempt to build on what we have. We hope the new shop front with the canvas sign and awning are a modern approach to people’s ideas of the traditional village shop. We want to create a balance between the old fashioned friendly feel of a local shop as well as trying to keep up with growing expectations of what a modern convenience store should provide.”
Their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by the retail industry itself. For the second year running their wholesaler – Batley’s, Preston – nominated them for the annual Retail Development Awards for England and Scotland. In 2011 John and David scooped the prize for the sweets and confectionery category and hoped to improve on this second time around despite stiff competition from up and down the country.
This year they installed a brand new three meter chiller unit to replace the two old fridges. It allows a much better display of what’s on sale and the extra space means they can now offer a huge choice of cold soft drinks and chilled wines, beers and cider. Working closely with Cadbury’s sales reps they have revamped their whole confectionery fixture (again?!?) with brand new shelving and increased their display to become one of Cadbury’s flagship stores. A new counter at the till point in their ‘corporate’ green has an instant impression and its bespoke design has granted them with some innovative display options, a massive improvement on what they had before. Local Joiner Robert Wright hand made the counter to their design and they are delighted with it.
“Working with local trades people has been a pleasure and we have had the best results because we have been able toinvest in the people we know and trust. Corona Contracts from Hillthorpe Farm, Knoll Lane designed and installed our sign and canopy, Robert with his tireless efforts to meet our demands with the counter and T&T property services who negotiated the difficult installment of the shop front.”
AND……… THEY DID IT!!! If you hadn’t already caught sight of the sumptuous trophy in the window, you’ll be pleased to hear they were honored with the overall Northern Retail Development Award 2012. John and David both admit they were overwhelmed but very proud that the investment and hard work has been well received.
Its nice to think that one of our last remaining village amenities is doing well, thanks to our loyal support, which they thought important for me to reiterate. It’s also down to a lot of hard work behind the scenes through their determination to keep up with the supermarkets and symbol groups for a village shop we can all be proud of. In their words…
“There’s Much Much more to the Much Hoole Store!!”