Alfrick and Lulsley Community Shop
The smell of fresh coffee greets you as you walk into Alfrick and Lulsley Community Shop. The light and airy space contains shelves and chiller cabinets filled with groceries, with a post office counter at one end and a café at the other.
The people who run this local community enterprise have just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Run by a dedicated team of volunteers, it’s a well-used local hub not only for shopping but for many other activities as well.
Alan Soper has been involved from the start. ‘After a public meeting that spring, we formed a company and by summer the following year we opened our shop in a portable building next to the village hall.’
The new community shop went from strength to strength. Further fundraising allowed a new shop to be opened in 2018, built specifically for the purpose.
‘Everybody joined in to carry out a stock-take over the weekend of the move into the new building’ says Jean Colley who manages the community shop. ‘The temporary building was emptied and stock was moved into containers before items were added to the shelves of the new shop.’
Committee members visited other community shops elsewhere in the country to learn some of the the secrets of their success. They have learned a lot about running a successful shop along the way and aim to keep the cost of staple products as affordable as possible, while offering a broad range of locally-produced food and drink. This includes local bread, meat, fruit and veg, cakes and sandwiches as well as beer from the nearby Teme Valley and Hop Shed Breweries and wine from Easing Hill Vineyard.
The café is well-used through the week by locals and attracts cyclists and walkers from further afield who add it as a stop-off to their routes. West Mercia Police, Age UK and Citizens Advice hold regular surgeries here, while the post office is a lifeline to many that offers banking as well as postal services.
Footfall and turnover continue to grow, with any surplus profit from the shop offered as small grants to local community projects.
‘We are truly grateful to the many shareholders of the shop, together with the Big Lottery Fund, the Co-operative movement, and its many other funders’ says Alan, ‘but the true success of this store is the people who keep it running. We have between 60 and 70 volunteers and truly believe that all our volunteers are wonderful all of the time!’
FIND OUT MORE:
Alfrick and Lulsley Community Shop is next to the village hall in Alfrick and is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am until Midday at weekends.
You can read more at alfrickshop.co.uk