Conference sponsors - Bluefin, Hampshire County Council (represented by Cllr Rob Humby) and Reposs
Hampshire Rural Shops Conference took place on Monday 8th February, with fifty delegates, representing 17 Hampshire shops, both community and privately run, meeting together in Braishfield Village Hall, and in the newly built Village Pantry, which had opened only a few days earlier. Braishfield hosts Jimmy Chestnutt and Clive John welcomed their guests and explained the context of the new shop, through their presentation which can be found below.
Ken Parsons (quite a familiar figure in Hampshire now!) from the Rural Shops Alliance identified the Key Financial Indicators to watch when managing shop accounts, and was followed by Ian Hughes from Bluefin, the voice of many years of experience in the both the convenience stores business, and the insurance issues around it. Andrew Mills from Heath Stores then explained how he and his family have turned around a tired and outdated store in a Kent village, before Ken Parsons led a session on the potential impact of the National Living Wage on the convenience stores industry, and particularly in small rural stores.
Then a delicious lunch followed by networking and a chance to visit the new shop, where the afternoon discussion sessions on community shops with Hannah Barrett from Plunkett Foundation were held. The rest of the afternoon was shared between sessions run by Hampshire Fare on sourcing more local food; Post Office matters with Laura Tarling, Corporate Affairs Manager from Post Office Ltd; on using Digital Marketing to grow a business with Stuart Fenton and Laura Davies from HCC, and Improving Layout and use of Space with Ken Parsons.
All who attended felt that the day had been well worthwhile, and went away better informed than when they arrived. All speakers gave permission for delegates to contact them directly after the event, and certainly Hampshire County Council’s Rural Champion, Cllr Rob Humby, will be keeping in touch with Post Office Ltd on a regular basis.
Hampshire Fare 3 MB
Hampshire County Council is a strong supporter of the county’s rural shops which it considers are an intrinsic part of community life. It has for several years offered grant funding to shops which are the only ones in the village, and / or to create shops in villages where there is no shop.
Grant funding is available to assist village shops in improving their offer, increasing footfall and sustaining a prosperous business into the future.
If you would like to request some training or to meet with staff from another shop
Phone 01962 845560