CASE STUDY: Tom Larkin, village shop manager
As Tom gets ready to open the doors to a new look Tywardreath Village Shop, the first-time shopkeeper explains how coaching from Entrepreneurs Retreat has helped him get ready for business.
“I’m surprised at how quickly I went from being very uncertain about my future, to throwing myself completely into becoming the new shopkeeper,” admits Tom, whose previous jobs have included writing about music and running a local food business.
“But to be honest, running that shop is something I’ve always thought about and what I’m doing feels perfectly natural.”
Tom put himself forward to manage the village shop as a social enterprise when the previous owners retired and Trudy and Josh purchased it with the help of the community through their social investment business Hunter Grange Investments.
“Trudy Thompson and Josh Taylor have been just brilliant,” he says. “They’ve given me the confidence and support to take the shop on as my own business. This has allowed me to pursue something that I don’t think I’d ever have been able to do otherwise.
“They don’t tell people what to do or how to do it. Their biggest thing is changing the way people think and helping them to believe that you can achieve whatever you want.
I’ve never run a shop before, but I now have the belief to just get on and go for it.
“I’m learning new stuff every day and, thanks to Trudy and Josh, I’m in no doubt that I can make a real success of the village shop.”
One of the things Tom’s discovered from the social entrepreneurs is that people often fail or hold back because they sabotage themselves without realising it.
“Everyone does it, but being aware of when you are doing it can make all the difference,” he points out.
He says he is “incredibly excited” about managing the shop.
“I see it as pretty close to being my ideal job. I’ve got clear ideas of how I think it should be run and what the village needs, and I’m really looking forward to seeing people’s responses.
“As the first new shopkeeper here in over 50 years, I’m going to become a part of the village’s ongoing story – what isn’t exciting about that?”
Tywardreath Village Shop, 1 Fore Street, Tywardreath, Par PL24 2QP
Interview by Sharon Barnard, August 2016
Entrepreneurs Retreat is based at Newhouse Farm in Tywardreath and is run by social entrepreneurs Trudy Thompson and Josh Taylor. They provide business people with a creative thinking break away from the office to work on their personal development and a new strategy for their company. They offer free business coaching sessions through their social enterprise incubator Bricks and Bread to help local people develop the right mindset to run their own small business. Hunter Grange Investments Ltd is a social investment company formed by Trudy and Josh to directly fund and support the growth of small business enterprise to improve the local economy and make a positive social impact on the community. They are currently raising money from individual peer to peer loan pledges to fund the purchase of Tywardreath Village Shop and Elmswood House to operate these premises with their incubated local businesses.
Watch this video by Trudy Thompson to share how her thinking and coaching has created these ground-breaking social businesses.
Read the latest news about their social investment plans.