It’s been nearly two years since my wife and I opened our Family Shopper store and I have been very pleased with the progress we have made with the business.

We are delighted with both the sales we are achieving and the level of profitability, but what stands out most to me is how we have become part of the community who live in High Blantyre.

I knew before we set out on the project in 2013 that the biggest challenge would be to become accepted by the close-knit community that live in the catchment area for the store. We were not entirely new to Blantyre as we have been running our Premier store in Coatshill Avenue for around 25 years. The lessons learnt from servicing the needs of that community were the foundation for developing a strategy to become accepted in Main Street.

I think that we have done pretty well at achieving this objective by being good neighbours to our new community. As soon as we had decided on the project I got in touch with the local kids club and offered to supply them with snacks and drinks for their meetings. I also got in touch with the local school and offered to support their breakfast club. Most importantly we offered a helping hand where we could to the people around the new store.

It’s said that the friendship you give out comes back and rewards you, well the community who live near our Family Shopper store live up to this ideal. I recently caught a shoplifter who was being very bolshie and several customers asked if I needed a hand ‘to sort him out’. With this support he soon calmed down.

My wife and I are very satisfied with what we have achieved in our first 2 years, but I know that there is more to do. We keep bolting new ideas on to the store offer, such as the recent improvement to our Food to Go category with ready meals from a local butcher and from Spice for Life.

Our Family Shopper store may be achieving the takings and profit goals that we hoped for, but I know that we can do more and will talk about my year 3 plans soon.