Almondsbury Community Services...
What advantages does a village shop bring to a community?
The advantages to villages of having a shop reach far beyond the goods they sell and the services they supply. Communities which have a shop say that they can be important meeting places, and are vital social and economic hubs for their area. The village shop will not usually be the main source of shopping for most village residents but will be the 'convenience' store or the 'top up' shop. The common benefits can be summed up as:
Village shops can also offer further enticements that many supermarkets can't such as freshly baked bread, locally made and produced products, and a delicatessen counter.
Most people will walk to a village shop that is 10 to 15 minutes away. For many people this is the daily exercise needed for a healthy lifestyle.
Increased house prices
Estate agents advise that villages with at least one shop are considered more desirable places to live.
Village shops help to create informal social support networks and if people use them daily or weekly they get to know their neighbours. This is especially important for more vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those caring for children or relatives and those living alone. Recognising neighbours and having the opportunity to interact helps develop a sense of belonging and safety.
Village shops can provide a drop-off and collection point for a wide range of services such as dry cleaning, shoe repairs, film processing and prescriptions, which could be especially useful for those with limited access to transport. They can be a focal point to promote and sell tickets for other local activities, amenities and events, and provide information for those in the village as well as passing trade.
Local shops can help to reduce the distance people travel by car, especially if a variety of goods and services are provided. By supplying local produce in particular, the distance goods travel and the subsequent packaging needed is also reduced.
A village shop will employ and serve local people throughout the year, helping to ensure that money stays within the local community. Local suppliers and contractors could also be used to supply goods and services. Custom may also come from people who work in local businesses but live elsewhere.
The will and desire for a shop was demonstrated by two past surveys.