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Otterton Community Shop – seven months in

The Community Shop has now been open for 7 months and is building sales successfully under its part-time Manager, Valerie Pride.  However, both she and the Shop’s Management Committee believe it will take several more months before they are satisfied with the Shop’s range of products. Even then it will need constant refining to maintain an attractive range of competitively-priced goods for our customers!

Weekly sales are consistently achieving those levels forecast in the third year of the Shop’s original business plan. The categories of products most in demand are newspapers and magazines, bakery, dairy, fruit and drinks. The Shop has maintained nearly all of the suppliers it started out with though several changes have been made to the goods on offer, for instance changing from pre-packed fruit and vegetables to mainly loose products.

Our opening hours have altered slightly since we opened. They are 8.00 – 18.00 hours on weekdays, 8.00 – 15.00 hours on Saturdays and 8.30 – 12.00 hours on Sundays. The Shop has opened on all the Bank Holidays so far usually operating on Sunday opening hours.

The Shop has been well supported by a group of around 35 Volunteers who are providing a high level of customer service while occasionally being challenged by the intricacies of the “till” and its EPOS system. Our Volunteers are are blessed with many talents and skills and all of these are being put to good use. The Management Committee members have been challenged by the niceties of overseeing the Shop, whether it is VAT, dealing with HMRC or our understanding accountant.

Valerie is still keen to hear what additional products our customers wish the Shop to stock and which they will purchase on a regular basis. As the Shop, which is an Industrial and Provident Society,  moves towards its second AGM it should be reporting a successful year to its 110 shareholders.