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What would you do with a village shop?

Our village needs some good ideas

     
2:20 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Our village is quite small - 1,000 houses. It's quite affluent and has a little parade of shops - the only shops in town:

A Newsagent
An Off licence
A Post office
A Beauty salon
A Hairdresser
A Butcher

Now - the Butcher is retiring soon after 30 years and their plan was to sell out to a guy that would turn the shop into a takeaway restaurant. It seems, though, that this is facing planning problems and may not happen.

The village would hate to see the shop empty for years, but it is unlikely to be a butchers again in the modern world.

What kind of shop might survive in this environment, that woudl benefit the village? What sort of things could it do to add value to the community?

2:26 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Interesting question! How about a café or an convenience store?
3:20 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm assuming that you already have the most important facility elsewhere in the village. i.e. the village pub. If not the butchers could be turned into a pub or (heaven forbid) a trendy wine bar.

You could also be about to lose the Post Office as a cull is imminent, and it is also probably true that the newsagent and possibly the post office cover what the convenience store would sell. If they don't then I would hope you get either a Tesco Metro or a small Co-op. We have a Tesco in our village and a Co-op in the next and both carry a large range and are open from early til late.

In our small village we have a lot more shops but then we are cursed by being near the sea and on a tourist route. We have several hairdressers, several takeaways, a convenience store a post office etc., but we also have a chemist (pharmacy), a bakers, a bicycle shop, a hardware store, a computer retailer and a pet food store. All of these are incredibly useful when the nearest big town is a few miles away.

Statistically it is more likely that it will become an estate agent.

6:53 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What's the economic base of the area and it's residents?
6:56 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You need a nice little bakery.
7:13 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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pubs
Yes - two of them. Also a doctor surgery which also dispenses, so a pharmacy might also be devisive in the village.

What's the economic base of the area and it's residents?
Pretty high. Not Chelsea or downtown Manhatten or anything, but almost exclusively families who commute to London daily, with either two well paid incomes or one income which supports enough for the other to look after kids. Put it another way - if we can find a decent idea, I'd probably be able to find enough people in the village to put together enough backing to finance buying the building even though it is probably not the easiest way to make money in the world.

A nice bakery
Maybe... or patisserie or something. It might have more chance than a butchers I guess, but would compete against the Post Office (sorry - forgot to say, the Post office also sells convenience basics. Fair to say though, she might be happy to take the post office redundancy cheque... so another potentially empty shop!)

Cafe
This would have support, but would probably fall foul of the same planning problems that a takeaway would have.

Any more ideas ar VERY welcome...?

[edited by: Receptional at 7:16 pm (utc) on May 18, 2007]

7:44 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Coffee shop?
7:58 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There's a little bakery on a main street near where I live (big city, not a village) that also has a cafe type thing so you can either get baked goods to buy and take with, or have a coffee and pastry right there at their little tables. Maybe that with a sandwich shop combined could do some nice take-out business.
8:49 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If there's not already a Starbucks within 20 meters, that sounds like a good candidate.

Seriously though, a coffee shop/cafe with outside seating (assuming you have the weather for it) where the locals can sit and chat would be good. Granted, the pubs already take care of most of all that, but would the locals be interested in a non-pub atmosphere?

9:26 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's quite affluent

A delicatessen. Theres an amazing one in a Bubwith, a small village in Yorkshire that seems to do extremely well.

[edited by: JudgeJeffries at 9:28 pm (utc) on May 18, 2007]

9:27 pm on May 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sounds very similar to the village my parents moved to about 25 years ago.
Similar size, similar demographic, similar location (i.e. commuting distance from London).
Cut a long story short; their village has recently developed what they call the 'Village Shop' and it is incredibly successful.
Some differences from your village - the post office is inside the shop I'm describing. Also, there's no separate newsagent/tobacconist in the village so they do that as well. Other than that, the Village Shop is really a local convenience store. And that's the key to its success - it's convenient for the villagers, and they pay premium prices for that over driving to the nearest town 5 miles away.
Some other ideas - they sell meat produce from a local high quality butcher. Ditto a nearby bakery.
Neither the butcher nor the baker see the village shop as competition, rather they see it as an extra reseller chanel which increases their business.
So, In my opinion, a traditional village shop selling essentials stands a great chance of succeeding in (guess what?) a village location.
8:24 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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... almost exclusively families who commute to London daily, with either two well paid incomes or one income which supports enough for the other to look after kids....

We call those "bedroom communites" this side of the pond.

Day care center?

9:17 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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An internet cafe? You could also sell some food and beverages to people who spend long hours online.
9:38 am on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If the community is as you describe it then you need a store which combines butcher and greengrocer.

I don't mean the standard run-of-the-mill type - but a quality outfit selling organic and free-range meats, and organic and locally produced vegetables.

Alongside that, the store should run the food-box model as that works very well in more affulent villages. It's a model in which a subscription provides a box of good quality food each week (or more frequently) which provides the bulk of the ingredients required for home cooking. Good services are ready washed, come with matching simple recipe suggestions and make a feature out of locally produced fresh produce.

This fits well with a combined butcher and greengrocer as the stock is already available on the premesis (i.e. few items will need to be specifically sourced) and it matches an area with a high number of communters as it saves a lot of time for those who are time poor and money rich.

2:57 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Who's the village idiot?
10:13 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I would make sure that there would be a erocery shop build in the village too.
4:32 pm on May 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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A "We'll list your stuff on eBay" store? :)
7:17 pm on May 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Who's the village idiot? - Ive applied.

I work all over teh country and was recently working Oulton in Northamptonshire small village with its idiot.

However on the corner of the main square was a coffee shop bit Starbucks in flavour, now when I was bored at work id drive up and hide for an hour two within.

The surprising thing it was always busy.

At times youd be hard pressed for a table.

The area has a high level of social housing(lowish income) and posher areas along with the famous school, I saw all types of people coming in.

They seemed to employ several teenagers from the school which brought in trade as friends would pop in, mothers would stop in there and chat after the school run.

8:46 pm on May 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think an adult bookstore attached to a message parlor might be in order. That always adds a touch of class to a community ... and provides for a good bit of gossip.
8:54 pm on May 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Theater.
8:47 pm on May 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Rugles - I was goingto suggest that but thought better of it.

Ive a spate of Cannabis grow rooms and brothels springing up on the estates I manage, so maybe.....

9:04 pm on May 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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A couple of years back we had a shop open in our little village selling.... just about anything you might run short of at a family weekend :)

last minute gifts, greetings cards, car wax/polish/cloths (really gets those sunday afternoon car washers!), weed killers, gardening tools, ice cream, BBQ coals, Snow shovels, pet food, batteries, sweets, soft drinks, lamps, seeds, bulbs - it's kind of aladdins cave really, but to me really well thought out for a village as it has those things that commuting families might just decide they need at the last minute and don't want to commute to town for

The only thing it doesn't have that I would perhaps add to it would be Internet/Fax/Copier facilities, coffee machine

9:10 pm on May 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Essex_boy, SuzyUK, enough drug pushing already! B^>
9:23 pm on May 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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what do they call those little hardward shops - habidasheries? or maybe they sell hats, i can't remember.

but you need a little shop that sells simple household things that everybody needs all the time - lightbulbs, nails, screws, vacuum cleaner bags, fuses, plugs, bin bags and door locks. the kind of place that resoles your shoes and does key-cutting too.

either that or a strip joint.

7:15 pm on May 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In most of the small, high income towns here, there is normally a small, high end boutique gift shop with unique one of a kind gift items, many times artist made.

They survive on just a few sales a month and the boom at Xmas. People in town buy their speical day gifts there. They only work if the product is truely one of a kind.

Another idea may be a candy store. Quaint but not subject to the same laws as food preperation shops (resturants, takeaways, cafes) would be.

3:20 am on May 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Shop with Chocolate(everybody) & Flowers(wife and mamas, and occasional girlfriends)
3:43 am on May 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Give it on rent.