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Grand Re-Opening

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

On Saturday we welcomed the community to view our completed refurbished store, to peruse and taste our new product ranges and most importantly share in the celebration!

The turnout was overwhelming, old faces and new! We were blessed with beautiful sunny weather, so patrons were able to comfortably gather outside for drinks and tasters and watch the speeches and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Speeches were made by our Chairman Nick Shorter and Deputy Lieutenant Andrew Kent. They both thanked everybody who made the refurbishment possible and for all their hard work. A special mention went out to the staff and volunteers who kept the shop open for the community throughout the pandemic. The Deputy Lieutenant entertained us with funny anecdotes and an explanation of his civic role. His full speech can be seen here

So what did we hope to achieve?

Following the survey last year, plans were afoot to make changes based on the feedback. However, the fire in June delayed this and created much more work than previously expected!

The survey was clear though, respondents wanted:

- An increased range of fresh food and more regular deliveries of fruit and vegetables.

- More space and a less cluttered feeling store.

- A community hub; somewhere to sit and socialise with a drink and snack.

It also became evident that the delivery service that began during lockdown should resume, as it has become a vital and appreciated service.

So we did just that!

We now have two large chillers and a smaller central chiller devoted to fresh foods!

With clever shelving and displays, a re-jigged layout, improved lighting and careful use of colour we have created a much more inviting store.

Listening to your desire for a social hub we have created an area outside the store affectionately named 'The Patio'. The bench has been repainted, café style tables and chairs added, all surrounded by beautiful planting.

We have invested in a reliable and good quality Jura coffee machine and sourced a delicious bean from Winchester Coffee Brewers. We have also extended our range to include single serving cakes and bakes, some of which will be baked in store with our new oven!

All this was possible, in part due to the generous grants offered by

David Drew, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism, Hampshire County Council

It's brilliant how the community has come together to support the village shop. The fire was a real blow but everyone has rallied around.
Across Test Valley we look after six community village shops and as a council we are very proud of this record. During lockdown we took particular note of these valuable assets and their importance in supporting the community in such difficult times. It is for that reason we were delighted to provide a grant from our Rural Communities Fund.
On a personal note, I am always happy to pop into the shop and enjoy engaging with the cheerful staff and volunteers.

We were also lucky enough to secure a very generous contribution towards the refurbishment from Test Valley Borough Council. Special thanks to Jenny Brain (Community Engagement Officer for Bourne Valley & Harewood Wards) who kindly navigated us through the changing needs of the application as a result of the fire.

You can read more about The Rural Communities Fund and The Community Asset Fund by clicking the hyperlinks.

Here are just some of the positive comments we received from the attendees.

Jane Eastwood, previous store owner, store landlady and Anna Benefice Church Warden

I can't tell you how pleased I am that the oven is back! I had no idea it was being installed but I thought I could smell baking this morning!
I'm thrilled there are tables and chairs outside and that hopefully some will come indoors in the winter (space permitting) The shop is the hub of the community and a great place to meet people; especially those that live on their own, they will have the opportunity to meet and chat with other villagers which is so important.
I am also delighted the delivery service resumed during Covid-19 and it's still continuing.

Other attendees commented:

Wow! What fantastic products, lots of very nice fresh food and scrumptious meats and cheese.

It's so light and airy. I can't believe how much bigger it looks!

The coffee is lovely - slurps. Mmm very nice!

Love the new range. I could eat something different every day of the week!

I can't get enough of these pastries!
It's amazing how quickly it's come together after the fire. It looks great.

We are so pleased with all the positive feedback and are humbled by the support shown by the community throughout this difficult time, it's sincerely makes all the hard work worth it. Thank you!

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