We revisit south coast retailer Amisha Patel one year on after profiling her shop in Retail Express.
Has Amisha Patel’s elderly customer-base continued to respond to her highly personal service?
Amisha Patel, Village Convenience Store, Sompting, West Sussex
Is your delivery service as popular as ever?
Yes, it’s about the same, although it did get more popular in the winter, when my older customers found it harder to get out of the house.
What is the most popular part of the business today?
Greetings cards are still the best part of the shop. The internet has had no impact on that. It’s the older generation – they still prefer to come to the store itself and send physical cards, rather than emails.
What else attracts your customers away from the supermarkets?
We obviously have alcohol, confectionery, newspapers, fresh bread and fresh cakes – a bit more than the usual convenience stores – but with the cost of living going up, some of the customers have been cutting back and do end up going to the supermarkets. But they come back to my shop in the end, because of the personal service and I have everything they need. It’s really about nice service. If the customer asks for something, we will always get it in.
Do you have any plans for expansion?
Yes – we are trying to expand the shop floor out at the back, and I will put more greetings cards in there. But I have no interest in partnering up with any bigger corporations. I don’t want to get involved with anyone else. I like the fact that if I remain independent I can make my own decisions on the business.