A couple have shown that a mix of fresh produce, everyday items, “little luxuries” and competitive prices can make a shop successful – as well providing a village hub.
It took months of negotiations with their bank and the Post Office to show that a business plan for Napton village shop could work.
Now Adam and Hannah Slade are celebrating one year of their successful business.
Hannah said: “Adam had to give up his business while we were trying to get the business off the ground and while I was still working, with two young children and a mortgage, it was still a big risk.
“It’s been hard work, but it’s worth it to see the business we’ve built up.
“Adam gets up everyday at five to bake the bread and the only day there is no bread or papers is Christmas.”
Under previous ownership the shop lost the post office in May 2013 and the couple began the process of getting it back, which led them to buying the shop. “It was not going to be a viable shop without a post office – it had to be a package,” said Hannah.
She started her retail career aged 16 in Marks & Spencer in Leamington, and rose up the ranks to running stores, held senior positions in head office, and helped launch the George Davies women’s clothing brand in stores.
Both aged 41, the couple have lived in Napton for 15 years and Hannah grew up in the Holly Bush pub in nearby Priors Marston, which her parents ran, and where she learned to cook, while Adam’s recent background has been a property developer and builder. Hannah said: “We are not here to compete with the likes of Asda or Tesco. We are competitively priced and fresh and local is the point of difference.
“It’s not just the basics – you’ve got to provide the extras such as the every day luxuries that people want.
“The feedback from people has been great – but importantly, people are coming back.
“There are a lot of elderly people in the village who rely on us entirely, while some in the village refer to us as their larder because they don’t go for the big shop anymore.
“A lot of people are going back to daily shopping as a way of cutting back on food waste.”
After thousands spent on a refit, the shop now also boasts a kitchen serving coffee, cakes, rolls, savouries and soups – much of it homemade – and it has become a stop-off point for walkers and cyclists.
The shop also hosts community events and taster sessions for producers and in season villagers can sell their home-grown fruit and veg from there. “The shop has become a community meeting place. People come in and say ‘It’s like a club here’, which is good,” said Hannah. “The business is very personal and very rewarding.”