Village Shop History

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Working with the community for the benefit of the community

The start of the formal opening of the Village Post Office on 7th September 2002

The start of the formal opening of the Village Post Office on 7th September 2002

The Shop Now

The Abbots Ann village Shop is run by the community for the community and any profits are returned into investment in the shop and other community projects, so the shop actually runs on a not for profit basis.  The shop is Managed by a team of two, Manger Tim Abram , and deputy Manager Carol Murphy, and operated by an army of volunteers resident in the village.  The post Office is run by Sub Post Mistress Maureen Flood and her team.  We need your support in becoming a member of the shop Association, Volunteering or just coming to use the shop and Post Office facilities.  

We try and keep our prices as competitive as possible and in many cases as just as good as the supermarkets for every day products but we also  stock Fresh and local products from small suppliers around the area including Leaf Tea, Salami, Cheeses, Home Made Cakes, and Watercress. 

History Until November 1998, Abbotts Ann had a commercially run village shop and Post Office. When the shop failed as a business and was sold, it was decided to approach the residents with the suggestion, to retain the facility in the village. The new owners allowed part of the original shop to remain so that the Post Office Counter and Shop could remain on a temporary basis until an alternative sight could be found. It was most important not to loose the contract with the Post Office. Our first port of call was to ViRSA (Village Retail Services Association) for guidance.
Trade continued from the front room 10ft sq for nearly 3 years with the assistance of 26 volunteers. Within a very short time the turnover was increasing to very satisfactory levels. Proving that there was hope for the future of the shop.
The Abbotts Ann Village Shop Association A questionnaire went out to every household to get a response on the idea of keeping and supporting a new facility. Each reply was monitored and logged. A new site had to be found. 4 sites were thoroughly investigated and the findings were reported back to the villagers in a meeting at the village hall, which David Fisher (ViRSA) and Martin Harvey (POL) attended. The attendance and response was overwhelming.

In April 1999 the residents of Abbotts Ann formed The Abbotts Ann Village Shop Association Ltd, (a non profit making organisation registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act No 28922R), whose main objective is to provide and retain a village shop & Post Office for the benefit of the villages and surrounding area, as a community venture. The concept was supported by both county and borough councils, and was in line with Government policy to retain rural facilities.
In 2001/02 the Government pledged to retain rural Post Offices and a Capital Subsidy Grant was implemented to help finance the halt of Post Office closures.

The Financial Situation The total project cost was approx £300,000. This included the purchase of suitable land, the building of a new Shop and Post Office in keeping with the conservation area in which it is situated, the shop fitting, installation of the Post Office Counter and the stock. Based on the best projections available it was clear, initially, that our borrowing requirement would be approximately £141,000 in order to construct the village shop as desired even after we have sold off the rear building plot. By incorporating a flat above the shop, a rental from the flat would service a £70,000 mortgage over 25years, but this still left £71,000 to find.
Fundraising became a major issue.

We began by inviting residents to become members of the Association for a fee of £10.00. In return a membership certificate was issued, this was a non-refundable sum but entitled members to vote at the AGM on various issues. We have in access of 300 members on the register. Next we approached Test Valley Borough Council Leisure Department, who awarded us £5000 to be matched by both our Parish Council and Hampshire County Council. This gave us £15,000. With donations, interest free loans, fundraising and debentures we were able to raise sufficient funds to purchase our site. This set the ball rolling on a 4-year project:
What did we do to achieve our goal? How did we raise the money? See below

Update April 2003 We have now been trading for 6 months and have far exceeded expectations. We have employed a Manager 30 hours a week and are recruiting for a sales assistant for 25 hours a week.

The off licence is very popular with our customers but not as much as the bakery department. We bake on site every morning and take orders to save disappointment. Our fresh fruit and vegetables are supplied by a local grocery, Kenyons, who delivers daily.

Mead and Stent Butchers of North Baddersley, provide us with top quality meat, fish and cheese. They deliver to us on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunchtime. Orders can be placed during the week for collection on the days mentioned.

Homemade flans, pies, scones and cakes are delivered every Thursday, orders need to be placed by Tuesday morning to save disappointment.

Pendoves of Poole call in every Tuesday and Thursday morning to collect and deliver Dry Cleaning/ Laundry, shoe repairs and photo processing.

Flowers and plants are supplied through Simon Heaton in Wherwell every Wednesday/ Thursday. We also have the ability to deliver flower through the Post Office service Bunches.

Diary of Events April 1999 – Formed the Abbotts Ann Village Shop Association Ltd
June 1999 – Registered as a Limited Company under the Friendly and Provident society.
Raised £73,000 through a mixture of memberships, grants, donations and loans from the village, to purchase a plot of land (known as the Old Cob Barn) for the new venture.
September 1999 – Spencer Architecture of Upper Clatford, Hampshire was appointed to design the new shop and post Office. (The plan includes a dwelling at the rear of the site. This will finance most of the project, allowing the association to repay some of the loans.)
12th November 1999 – Completion of land purchase took place
14th April 2000 – Submitted Lottery Application for funding towards project cost
18th May 2000 – Planning permission was granted for the new shop with a flat above, the dwelling at the rear and the demolition of the old barn
19th May 2000 – Received Grant from Community Action Hampshire for shop fittings fridge and freezer, in support of our achievements so far
28th June 2000 – Shop fittings replaced bookcases and kitchen table
1st August 2000 – 15 Volunteers came forward to assist in the shop. A structured timetable was formed
2nd September 2000 – Village Fete. Artist’s impression of new shop and post office displayed to the public. Donation received from proceeds of Fete
2nd October 2000 – Lottery Grant Application rejected. A Community Shop is not considered Charitable Philanthropic or Benevolent
7th October 2000 – Volunteers for Saturdays came forward, morning trading began
November 2000 – Began fund raising to cover shortfall of £141,000 due the Lottery rejection. Until was raised building could not begin
Between Christmas 2000 and January 2001 the Village raised £27,500 in loan offers and £17,500 in donations
Events of 2001 January 2001 – Archaeological dig. Report TBC
21st February 2001 – Discussions with the local Council to support further funding for the project. 23rd February, Local Council Executive Committee awarded a grant of £25,000 subject to an updated business plan
March 2001 Tenders prepared to go out and building phase to commence as soon as possible. Jackie Stanton and David Keable visited the Convenience Retailing Show to meet suppliers
April 2001 Completion of the Archaeological dig with no relevant findings
May 21st – 25th 2001 – Demolition of the old barn and clearance of the site was completed due to the generosity of an anonymous resident. Short list of 5 builders selected. Article in Andover Advertiser and Convenience Store Magazine
June 2001 – Tender packages go out to builders with a 4 week turn around period. Suppliers investigated for take over of existing shop hopefully in September
July 2001 Delay on tenders as builders asked for extension.
Sudden loss of a dear friend and supporter of the project Mr Basil Hibbert whose wife Susan asked that donations should be made to the Village Shop project.
August 2001 – Raised in access of £16,000 through the silent auction. Agreement reached for the village to take over the Post Office contract and running of the shop as of October. Meeting with shop fitters to finalise interior design as several issues still in hand
October 2001 – On the 3rd of October the Village shop Association took over the total running of the Post Office and Shop. We now beat Tesco prices in some cases. All takings are now for the benefit of the shop and the village. It is a true community venture
30th October – The builder, J Seymour was appointed and a start date of November 19th 2001 was agreed
November 2001 – Seymour Builders are now on site with a completion date of 19th August 2002
The Building Process During the period that lay ahead, poor weather and many hurdles delayed the building programme on more than one occasion. We were very fortunate to have on our committee an Architect, and a Surveyor, who put in many hours with the project manager to make sure that everything was being done correctly and to plan.
Our Chairman, a Solicitor, is another very valuable member of the team with his legal knowledge. It vital, to have expert advise available for this type of project.
The Grand Opening Took place on Saturday 7th September 2002 at 1pm, by Martyn Lewis (Newsreader) during the Village Fete.
Click to view. Many thanks to Sean Arkley of Palmer and Harvey Distributions, Fareham and his colleagues for organising the stock and planning the opening day with so many promotions. What fun we all had!!!! Thank you also to South Today, Meridian News, Meriden TV and Radio Solent for covering the opening. To Sir George Young for his continued support of rural facilities and to the residents of Abbotts Ann for making it all possible.

 

A REAL COMMUNITY VENTURE!
OWNED BY THE COMMUNITY
RUN BY THE COMMUNITY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMUNITY

Abbotts Ann Village Shop and Post Office
Duck Street, Abbotts Ann, Nr Andover
Hampshire, SP11 7AZ
Tel: 01264 710230

 

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