“I learned on the job. Everything I know about retail, I’ve learnt in this shop,” Swarti says. “I remember being nervous, but I did what I had to do and now I can’t picture doing anything else.” 

Swarti quickly discovered she was part of a predominately male-led industry, but this made her more determined. “At first, I was quite shocked about how male-dominated independent retail is and it was quite frustrating, but I’ve now found my feet and we’re making a success of the business as each month passes by,” she explains. 

Part of the next generation of independent retailers, Swarti knows the importance of social media and the positive impact it can have on a business. “We have a wide variety of customers, from families to elderly shoppers, but we keep in touch with our community via social media,” Swarti says. 

More store profiles: Mital Morar’s store takes convenience retail to the next level

“I didn’t want to run a business that’s just about making money, I want to know my customers and find out how I can personally help in their day-to-day lives. 

“We’re friends on Facebook with a lot of our customers, so we know when they have a social event going on. When I find this out, I’ll make sure to order in products I think they’ll need.” 

For her younger customers, Swarti advertises new confectionery product lines and soft drinks on Snapchat. “Snapchat has worked really well for us, especially as we have a lot of schools nearby.

“The younger generation are born with technology, so to boost our sales it became imperative we used social media to its full potential,” she explains.


Top tips 

Keep persevering 

“I set myself yearly goals, and, although this can be frustrating for us at times, persisting with targets helps us become better retailers – and improves our store,” Swarti says.

Maximise social media to its full potential 

“We advertise heavily on social media, because it’s the quickest way to alert our customers to any upcoming promotions we might have – and it gets them excited, too,” she says.

Take pride in your store 

“We advertise heavily on social media, because it’s the quickest way to alert our customers to any upcoming promotions we might have – and it gets them excited, too,” she says.


Swarti found her niche by making sure she becomes the ultimate destination for her local community. 

Recently, she provided alcohol for a wedding she found out was happening – building her presence in the local community and giving back. 

“Without customers, we have no business, so I do what I can to help the community I live in,” she adds. 

“Our customers are like family to us, and we want to know them socially, too, so we can meet their needs.” 

More store profiles: Amy Pawley cut her shop’s energy bill by changing fridges

Taking pride in her business, and wanting to adopt a modern approach to retail, Swarti is always looking for ways to improve, and says she is constantly learning. “Every year I set myself a goal and I won’t give up until I’ve achieved it. 

“Most recently, I had a goal of giving back to the community and increasing turnover,  which we are continuing to work on,” she says. 

Moving forward, Swarti is working on building her presence on social media and partnering suppliers to improve her business and drive sales. 

“We are always improving and remerchandising every few months to see what works well for us,” she says. 

“I’m always thinking of ways to help our customers, and I’m always buzzing with ideas on how we can upgrade our store.”


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Adrian and Graham Cooke are fighting on to keep their store going