This month has been both good and bad. The bad was that our broadband connection went down for nine days which stopped us from doing any Post Office work. 

Nobody could get any cash out to pay at the tills and we couldn’t do any phone top ups. We ended up loaning £1,500 to customers in order to keep them shopping.

On the plus side the building work across the street is really up and running now. In order to take advantage I’m looking at buying some sort of burger van. Rather than investing in getting all the cooking equipment set up in the shop, I think it could work well to have a van selling hot food from, say, 7am until just after midday. And then when trade from the building work has petered out, the van has a resale value.

Another positive is that the warmer weather has seen our soft drinks and ice creams flying out the door – we’re arranging to have a second vehicle go to the Booker depot tomorrow so we can collect enough stock. Coca-Cola, Lucozade Energy and Lucozade Sport are the biggest sellers, as well as Euro Shopper energy drink. Our cheaper ice creams are also selling well.

Another thing we’re doing is taking on more staff, and they have to be vetted and trained. I’ve been very lucky on the whole with my staff, but the recent changes to statutory sick pay could be a real worry for some retailers.