Running a store in one of Coventry’s most troublesome areas was always going to be a challenge for Dan Amin. Based in the Stoke Aldermoor council estate, the neighbourhood surrounding his One Stop is notorious for crimes such as shoplifting, violence and antisocial behaviour. According to official police figures, there were more than 550 crimes reported in the area during the year before Dan took over the shop.
“I became the manager of the store in June last year and we instantly experienced trouble,” he says. “We were being bombarded left, right and centre by people who thought they could come in and get away with stealing products and generally causing trouble.
“You can’t stand for this. It’s like someone coming into your own home without your permission.”
Instead of letting his 2,000sq ft store remain a target for antisocial behaviour, Dan decided to take a stand by engaging with the community. His approach was to organise regular events at the store and turn it into a social hub for nearby residents. A funfair was held during the grand opening of the shop to raise awareness of the new ownership, while nearby residents are similarly engaged during the Easter, Halloween and Christmas periods.
“Every year, I like to go the extra mile during events such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas,” Dan says. “For example, last Christmas, we held a bauble-painting competition for children where there was a hamper given to the top three.
“We normally hang what the kids have made on the walls of the shop. The community, especially the parents, get together and we’ve seen antisocial behaviour reduce as a result. Adults will either stop any bad behaviour themselves or notify us – they don’t want all this positivity ruined, or to see the work their kids do destroyed.”
Each community event attracts more than 500 attendees.