Apparently I take an “odd view” of competition. First, our store is in the middle of nowhere – I like to call it the centre of the universe, others don’t! We are six miles from the next nearest village store and the closest supermarket is 10 miles away. So who is my competition?

My competition is simply those who are not independent retailers. It’s multiple retailers we need to take on rather than stores in the same position as ourselves.

Rather than compete with local independent businesses, we support our nearest competition. Skirrid Garage & Shop is useful when I need fuel, and if customers are going that way and I happen to have run out of newspapers, I happily suggest them instead.

In the other direction is Ewyas Harold Post Office & Shop. The owner has really turned the store around to huge success and when they were flooded four years ago, I was more than happy to drive over and lend them mats while everything dried out and so customers could keep their feet dry while shopping.

I think our biggest competition is ourselves. We have to remember that not every customer knows all of our products, but we do, and we must make sure we continually sell them to our best advantage.

We need more great independent traders with strong customer service so we can all compete with and beat the multiples.

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