The tills are ringing with success at Milland Community Shop which is reporting excellent trading activity since it opened three months ago.
With spring and summer well on their way, the shop committee is full of ideas for the coming months and wants to share its success with people from across the community at its first annual meeting which takes place this coming Saturday at Milland Village Hall, starting at 10.30am.
Chairman Philip Watts said: “It’s an exciting time at the community shop with lots of new ideas and, with summer coming, the chance to use Sam’s wonderful building and its outside cafe deck to best effect.
“Since the shop was opened by Hugh Bonneville in early December results have been ahead of expectations with the shop often turning over more than £3,500 per week. About 100 people come into the shop every day.
“The upward trend of business is continuing to increase as the weather warms up and we can use the outside cafe space. Also, the lighter evenings mean people come in later – which effectively increases the business hours. For the summer, we are extending the shop’s weekend times.”
This month the shop, which relies heaviliy on a dedicated team of volunteers, held a gathering for supporters, with 30 people enjoying a glass of wine and a chat.
In addition to regular products, the shelves now feature fresh venison, an expanded range of cheeses and at weekends residents can add a splash of colour to their homes with the shop’s small range of fresh flowers.
Mr Watts said it was also investigating adding some new lines for the future such as fresh fish and loose wholefoods sold by the kilo while for summer the shop is planning on stocking a range of barbecue items from burgers to charcoal.
The shop has also introduced a whole host of new services including dry cleaning and shoe repair facilities, which are collected several times a week.
Postal services are now available and these include guaranteed and recorded items with mail collected at 4.30pm each day while letters can also be posted in a new red box next to the coffee machine.
Mr Watts said the shop would also be open all over Easter: 9am-5pm on Good Friday, 8am-5pm on Easter Saturday, 10am-5pm on Easter Sunday and 9am-5pm on Easter Monday.
He said the shop was now attracting people from far and wide thanks to its cafe, which now has more tables outside as well as a small bar and stools inside.
“All this greatly increases the seating capacity,” said Mr Watts. “Indeed, the cafe has been one of the great success stories and is bringing in not only Millanders but cyclists, walkers and many people from local towns who have read the publicity and want a trip out.”
As part of its expansion the shop is now searching for another member of staff to work regular weekends.
Other ideas on the horizon include introducing cream teas in summer, pre-ordering joints of meat through the shop from the butcher, which would complement the existing vegetable box scheme.
The shop has also organised a packed programme of events.
These include a bike clinic 10am-2.30pm on Sunday, April 1 to help prepare people as they get ready to enjoy the spring sunshine and a spring craft session on Thursday, April 12 from 2.30pm while on Sunday, April 22 green fingered enthusiasts can share ideas and knowledge at a seed swap which runs 9.30-11.30am.