22 May 2011

Guest Blog: Village Shop report to Parish AGM

At the Parish AGM this week one of the reports was from the Village Shop (pic left). I've enclosed Mary Dunford's report below - see here for Village Shop advert earlier this year and last years report here. As I've said before it is the cafe with the best views in Stroud - and decent cafetiere coffee - plus prices at the shop are good. A big thanks to all the volunteers who make it run - a great hub for our community.


This has been a successful year for the shop as sales in both the Shop and Coffee Bar were up and we now have more helpers. We had two periods of heavy snowfall, which always result in excellent shop and coffee bar sales.

It was also less eventful, although there was an attempted break in. The electricity supply was cut in the early hours of the morning of March 12th, and an attempt made to crowbar the shop door.  The shop alarm, which has a battery back up, activated, and the thieves fled empty handed. Click read more to see the rest.
The Plunket Organization, who help Gloucestershire Community Shops, have invited the shop to send representatives to a future social event for community shops to get together  and exchange ideas and perhaps share resources in the future.

Philip Booth our District Green Party Councillor featured last years Shop Report for the Parish Council AGM, in his daily blog, and it was also published in The Warbler, with another entry in The Warbler later in the year.

Chris Lowcher from the Gloucestershire Rural Shops Council came and took photographs of the shop for an exhibition of Community Shops, and the shop was featured, along with the other Gloucestershire Community Shops, in the May issue of Cotswold Life.

The shop is financially viable.  Our customers continue to generously donate into a box on the counter to assist with shop repairs and maintenance, and there were several donations throughout the year.

The shop received a cheque with a donation from the relatives of the late Mr Richard Boulton, from a bequest in his will.

Fundraising continues throughout the year when Mary Watkins runs events including among others, the Pancake Day Races, Easter Egg Hunt, Annual Plant Sale and Xmas Fayre.  From these she makes generous donations to shop funds, and the shop also greatly benefits from increased shop and Coffee Shop sales.  During the Royal Wedding Village Party, Mary organized cream teas in the shop, which those who helped agreed, after they had recovered, were a great success for the shop! The wedding party also had an additional benefit in that several customers that day said that they had never been in the shop before and were surprised at the range of goods available

We also were very pleased to receive an unexpected cheque from the Parish Council.  Thank you Parish Council.

Mr John Kerry, a Whiteshill resident, and regular shop customer, made and sold a DVD of Whiteshill and Ruscombe to be sold in the shop, and he has donated all the proceeds to shop funds.  It is extremely professional with interviews, background music and commentary by Mr Kelly. It has been an outstanding success, with copies going as far away as New Zealand to former Residents and has twice been featured in the local papers.

Our thanks go to all the above and anyone who has helped the shop in any way.

Village shops and libraries across the country are closing because in theory people support them but often tend to forget that they are there. Previous undercover operations by shop committee members,have shown that Whiteshill and Ruscombe shop can offer very competitive prices in comparison with other local convenience stores. The shop is also able to offer a diverse range of goods to accommodate different lifestyles.  It is run entirely by volunteers, so does not have to cover wages or large overheads.

Have you visited YOUR village shop lately? 
If not, why not start now and call in on a more regular basis, and pick up a few items that you forget to get at the supermarket, bring the children or grandchildren, enjoy the fantastic views and play area, and perhaps have a chat and a coffee.  Perhaps you might like to order a regular weekend newspaper for which there is a small 5 pence charge. As well as being a meeting place for the local community, the shop can be a life line to the elderly and those without transport, who could find it difficult and expensive to have to travel all the time to Stroud.

The shop always needs volunteers, and it is a great way to make new friends and meet new people, especially if you are new to the area. We are situated on the playing fields.  If you feel you could spare two hours on a fairly regular or occasional basis to help in the shop, or if you feel you could help the shop in any other way, please leave your details with a volunteer, or come in and have a chat with Mary Watkins, Monday, Thursday or Friday mornings between 9-11.

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