We are planning to extend the shop and refit it to improve the layout and range of products we can currently stock. As soon as we have the architect’s drawings we will show you what is proposed.
We have dozens more local start up micro enterprises that we have given free coaching to at the shop who are ready to go into production to a level where they can supply it with their products.
We are continuing to raise money from peer to peer loans pledged by local people and individuals who support our aims, to fund the shop business to grow and develop the micro ventures of local people growing alongside us.
A few highlights from our business progress in the last 4 weeks.
If you’ve visited the shop or followed our news on our Facebook page you’ll have seen we’ve had a fantastic start to the year with lots of positive things happening. Instead of being quieter in January, the shop business is still growing rapidly.
Sir Richard Branson shared our story on the Virgin website to all his social media followers at the beginning of January, urging people to find out more and learn from us, so we had a massive publicity boost that has raised awareness about our venture worldwide and more companies have got in touch wanting to book coaching workshops with us in the Summer.
The shop has been approved as a provider of the Paypoint bill payments system, the equipment arrived today so it should be installed in the next weeks. Then we can offer a range of new services to help local people pay their bills and receive their pension and benefits too.
Josh has created an app for the shop so customers can easily place orders on their phones and tablets. This increased the number of people pre-ordering for collection and home deliveries. Interestingly, so many people downloaded it simultaneously in the launch week that it put it in the top 100 most popular shopping apps in the world! We are one of the few village shops with an app and it hardly cost anything to do thanks to Josh being our resident technology wizard!
We’ve also made lots of little but significant changes to the shop this month including installing a coffee machine for takeaway hot drinks and managing to fit in over 30 new grocery products on the shelves. We’ve also done a lot of work to the layout of the stockrooms to make it easier for us to cope with the volume of stock we now have to buy each week to keep up with demand.
We have asked our architect friends who run Purl Design to create drawings for remodelling the building layout and local resident Jamie Stephens who is a regular customer of the shop has surveyed the building and levels around the site.
Another friend, local resident Nick Southgate who lives in sight of the shop and runs Holmbush Windows, kindly helped us replace the green fascia board high up on the front of the building. When he went to buy the materials from Cornwall Fascias, which is run by local resident Karen Martyn and she found out it was for her village shop, she kindly donated them to us, which was totally unexpected – we had no idea there was a connection there! And the help from local businesses didn’t stop there, L&S scaffolding did us a huge favour by getting the scaffolding up and down in half a day and hardly charged us for their time even though they waited on site all morning.
On the 24th of January it was our 4th month anniversary of running the shop and we celebrated all day, Trewithen Dairy donated cream teas for our customers and other suppliers gave us treats to give away. Rory Winch, a young lad whose sister is one of our paper girls, won a £25 voucher to spend in the shop for guessing how many transactions we would do by the end of the day. Over 200 people entered this competition, mainly on our Facebook page which is very popular and helps us promote the shop for free. We currently have over 500 likes and each week over 1000 comments on average are made by people who follow our antics at the shop!
To date there has been over 29,000 transactions through the till, 6,000 cash machine withdrawals and over 3,000 credit card transactions. In just 4 months the shop has earned over 50% of the annual turnover of the previous business.
The 3 charity pots by the shop till for Marie Curie, Chicks, Sally’s Cat Rescue and the loose change collection for our community activities are all filling at about the same rate. In the last 2 months we have raised £50 from the shop pot and we’ve matched that so we have £100 to help towards doing something to reduce the dog’s mess in the village. We are open to all suggestions and we have free poo bags in the suggestion box for anyone who needs one in an emergency!
Our friend and professional cameraman George Simpson has visited again from London to film video footage in the shop for a documentary project and promotional videos for us. We have also been talking to a major production company who are interested in working with us to create a series of online videos about the shop and our unique business model.
This week we congratulated Josh on being awarded a winner of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce ‘30 under 30’ celebrating Cornwall’s brightest young business talent. He was selected by the judges after being nominated by several customers and our pledgers so it was a great surprise for Josh. Thank you to everyone who put him forward for this award, he really does deserve the recognition and we are all very proud of him.
Lastly, we were delighted to see the shop get a mention on the front page of the Tywardreath News and Views. It made us really proud to see pictures of the shop over 100+ years and knowing it is still here thanks to our determination to save it and our community’s support.
Trudy and Josh