Last year Retail Express profiled Janine Watts at her Wealden Stores in West Sussex.
Catching up with her a year later, she discusses how she is enlisting the local community to help fight a new supermarket planning to open next door.
How’s business been since last year?
It’s been good for a while now, we had a busy summer and it’s still good at the minute.
Is there any particular reason for that?
I think people have a little bit more money in their pockets now, we’re constantly looking at what we have in our store and how it’s selling and adapting.
Are there any areas doing particularly well?
Organic food has really picked up. Bread is also doing well – we have a couple of bakeries deliver to us, real bread rather than what I call fake bread, which is selling. Snacks are a growth area, pies are booming, as are sandwiches.
Have you changed the store at all?
We moved our fruit and veg and put ice cream to the front of the store, which has worked for us. We’re still selling ice creams now, so we’re keeping it as it is.
Any challenges to the store?
The Co-op is proposing to build a store next to us, changing the use of a pub. We’ve got petitions going, we’ve got more than 1,000 signatures. We’re very involved with the local community, which helps to get people signing and writing. Our shop is our home, it’s like inviting people into our lives.