The Village Shop
Telephone: 01398 371531
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For all your everyday needs: Locally sourced bread and dairy produce, bacon, burgers, sausages and ice cream plus newspapers, magazines, takeaway hot and cold drinks … and much more!
Open 9am - 1pm Monday - Saturday
Message from Maria at the Village Shop:
Update from your village shop….
Firstly, please can I say that despite it no longer being a legal requirement, we are still encouraging people to wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer, when using the shop. It is about keeping us all safe and remembering that our volunteers are the people who keep our shop open. If they are ill or need to isolate, we are so short of volunteers that the shop would probably have to close.
For those of you that use the shop regularly, you will have already seen the recent changes that we have made inside. A lot of time, effort and hard work went into making these alterations and I would really like to thank the following people for giving up their weekend and working so hard to help Martin and I.
Chris & Dale Cherry, Jan & Eddie Neves, Jenny Phillips & Bill Rees.
Thank you all, your support and hard work is truly appreciated and the changes we accomplished in just two days, could only have happened with your assistance.
Part of the shop rearrangement was to enable us to install a self-service drinks machine. We are regularly being asked by delivery drivers and passers-by if we sell takeaway teas and coffees and now, we can finally say “yes”! It is hoped that our villagers will also take advantage of this facility and enjoy sitting outside at our beautiful new tables and chairs, possibly catching up with friends from in and around the village or just sitting enjoying an ice cream and the summer sun. The hanging baskets are looking particularly beautiful now, so come and enjoy them too. This pandemic and lockdown have been a difficult time for us all and our main aim in installing these additions to the shop is for the benefit and wellbeing of the people in our community.
I am sad to say that Amelia will no longer be helping in the shop. She now has other work within the village which suits her schedule better than working on a Saturday. We are very sorry to lose her, she started with us during the first lockdown and was an absolute “godsend” when we were literally down to 3 or 4 volunteers due to the pandemic. Thank you, Amelia, for all that you have done, best wishes for your future. The lovely tall young man that is Cameron, has been wonderful in agreeing to work every Saturday now. Thank you, Cameron, for that and for helping me get everything off the top shelf!!
When one door closes, another door opens and in walked Tash and Tanya. Tash joined the shop when she first moved into the village last year, but had to give up when she took on paid employment elsewhere. However, as we are particularly struggling for volunteers at the moment, Tash has been an absolute gem, by joining us again to help us out in our “hour of need” We never wanted to lose her in the first place, so this is definitely an added bonus. Tanya has also been the answer to our prayers, by joining us to help on a Saturday, one of our busiest days. Tanya’s parents had a village shop for many years, so she grew up in the trade and took to it again like she’d never been away! Thank you both without people like you, the shop would close.
And on that subject, (and sounding like an Oscar speech) my final thanks in keeping the shop open, go to those of you who actually support it. You are helping to ensure the longevity of the shop for those who rely solely upon it for their daily shopping and on their behalf, I say, thank you.
Brompton Regis Village Shop: Grants
As previously reported, the shop’s greatly enhanced role in the life of our village during the pandemic has been helped by grants from the Parish Council and the Lunch Club.
We can now also add our thanks to the Somerset Coronavirus Response & Recovery Fund which is managed by the Somerset Community Foundation. Following an application submitted by Chris Cherry of the Shop Committee, we were awarded a £3000 grant to help in the shop’s post-Covid development.
This funding will be used to acquire additional equipment such as a coffee machine; tables/chairs; freezer; laptop and an external secure box.
The Village Hall is continuing its valuable support for the shop by not only extending the shop’s use of the Dennis Boundy Room but also by funding the enclosing of the shop porch and some internal reconfiguring of the shop’s layout.
We are immensely grateful to each of these bodies for their support in helping our community shop weather the pandemic and putting it on an even stronger footing for the future.
Phil Barnard (Chairman, Shop Committee).
Brompton Regis Village Shop
The shop was set up in July 2008, initially in the skittle alley of ‘The George Inn’. In 2012, it moved to another ‘sporting’ venue, taking over the Men’s Club snooker room in the village hall. With the benefit of Lottery funding and other grants, the shop took on the format we see today. None of this would have been possible without the tremendous efforts of our respective Shop Managers, Volunteers, Shop Committee and, of course, our Customers. New Volunteers are always welcome; please contact Maria Lloyd if you would like to give it a go.
Maria and her husband, Martin, successfully ran their own village shop in Devon before moving to Brompton Regis last year and becoming volunteers. With Maria as manager, Martin continues as a ‘specialist’ volunteer, focussing on technical issues. Their retail experience has already brought improved stock control and wider product ranges to the shop with more initiatives in the pipeline.
Also, if you are not yet a member/shareholder of the BR Village Shop Society (which now has more than 130 members) we would love you to join us. There is a one-off payment of £10; please pick up an application form from the shop. This support is not only valuable in itself but also indicates a level of local commitment that helps us gain grant funding. This is required from time to time as, although the shop manages to run at about break-even financially, it does not generate a surplus for maintenance, repairs or replacements.
ANNUAL MEMBERS MEETING CHAIRMAN’S REPORT: 2020/21
The Covid-19 pandemic tested your community shop to its limits in 2020. However, I am delighted to report that it not only stayed open throughout and survived but came through it stronger than ever.
Financially, a 2019 loss of £2,216 was transformed into a 2020 profit of £4,015. This not only reflects the ‘Shop Local’ necessitated by the lockdowns and shielding but also the serendipity of Maria Lloyd’s appointment as Shop Manager in the very month, March 2020, that Covid restrictions were first imposed. She, together with husband Martin, drew on their previous retailing experience to cope with the myriad delays in deliveries, lack of products and other supplier problems.
This was also against the exceptionally difficult background of most of the shop’s counter volunteers needing to shield. Fortunately, a small team was able to continue and do additional shifts (Chris Cherry, Nick Parry, Glenn Bengtson, Amelia Hutchings and Maria herself), supplemented by the fortuitous stranding here of three visiting Budapest residents (with BR connections), Annabel, Tom and James Barber.
Other volunteers redirected their efforts to non-customer facing tasks which increasingly included home deliveries as telephone/online ordering grew. Jan Neves, as formal Shop Committee link with the Manager, played an even more valuable supportive role as the pandemic-linked issues threatened to overwhelm the efforts being made to help our community pull through.
Despite the problems, Easter and Christmas themed displays, products and raffles went ahead successfully. The Christmas order forms were a particular success and will continue. The much wider product range now features even more local produce, including meat and poultry.
Although cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 BR Show & Gymkhana has temporarily removed the shop’s main grant giver, their 2019 distribution had already enabled us to erect colourful signposts and repair the freezer. Subsequently, the Parish Council has supported extra Covid-related staff costs and, together with the Lunch Club, has helped fund a new chiller, ice cream freezer and counter screen. We are immensely grateful for this generous support.
Our landlords, the Village Hall Committee (VHC), have also been of great help in permitting the shop to use the Denis Boundy room for storage and order preparation during the pandemic. They have kindly agreed to extend the shop’s occupation of this space for at least the next year. The VHC have also approved our plans to enclose the porch area and are funding hanging flower baskets at the front. We are most appreciative of this support – and for their resolving the drainage issue by the entrance too!
On the publicity front, Maria provides a valuable window on the shop in her monthly Brendon Beacon columns. The West Somerset Free Press printed a piece (“Village Shop does a roaring trade” – see attachment) submitted by Kirstie Hamilton, a valued Covid-era volunteer, on how we have been coping with the pandemic.
In addition to the shop’s much-expanded retail role in our community, it has continued to provide a range of other services including Brendon Beacon distribution; BR Annual Calendar; cashback; Food Bank; prescription collection; raffles and ‘Welcome Packs’.
As vaccinations have progressed and Covid restrictions have eased, so our volunteers have been able to resume a more ‘business as usual’ role. However, that does not do justice to the much sharper and more professional admin. introduced by Maria during the year and the planned changes, particularly moving to Martin’s specially designed Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system.
A range of other improvement and expansion ideas are also being progressed and grant funding is being sought.
In summary, due to the remarkable dedication of the management and volunteer team, your shop has not only weathered the Covid storm but has also emerged with sales running at double the previous level. This sets us up well to pursue improvement and expansion opportunities.
The post-Covid era may, however, see changes in customer behaviour that limit or diminish our business and we must be ready to react appropriately. Your continuing support as members and shareholders of the Brompton Regis Village Shop Society, and as customers, will be critical to our ongoing success.
Finally, in addition to thanking our shop management and volunteers on behalf of us all, I would like to express much appreciation to my Management Committee colleagues who have helped guide the ship (with the help of Zoom!) through these challenging times.
Phil Barnard (Chairman). May, 2021
BROMPTON REGIS VILLAGE SHOP TEAM
Chris Cherry; Kirstie Hamilton; Jenny Jakeman; Maria Lloyd; Martin Lloyd; Janet Neves; Nick Parry; Tracy Patten; Jenny Pattenden; Jenny Phillips; Claire Pounder; Bill Rees
Cameron Cherry; Amelia Hutchings
Sunday/Bank Holiday Newspapers
Phil Barnard; Colin Berry; Donald Elliott; Eddie Neves; Bill Rees
Brompton Regis Calendar & Shop Branding
Phil Barnard (Chairman); Chris Pollard (Treasurer); Jan Neves (Management Support); Chris Cherry; Jenny Phillips