We hear about convenience stores operating at the ‘heart of the community’ a great deal – just go over recent issues of the trade press to find inspiring stories about retailers who play a crucial role in the villages, estates, neighbourhoods and high streets where they trade.

We should all be proud of the work our sector does in communities, but how do local people rate us alongside other shops and services?

This week, we launched the third edition of our Community Barometer that asks consumers, retailers and local councillors this exact question. 

I’m delighted to say that the results once again show how convenience stores are widely perceived as having the most positive impact on their local area. What’s more, even though there are 50,000 c-stores in Great Britain, people want to see more of them in their local area. That’s a pretty compelling endorsement of the service we provide and the relevance of convenience stores to people’s lives. 

The only service that was seen as having a more positive impact on the local community was the Post Office, and of course, most of these are now incorporated in convenience stores. We can also claim a part of the credit for the third most popular service: specialist food shops. 

Convenience stores increasingly have speciality and locally-sourced foods as part of their offering, sometimes developing partnerships with butchers and bakeries, so the top three most positive local services are a significant part of the modern convenience store offering.

You’ll be hearing us talking about this research in the national and local media, but why not make your councillors aware of these findings? 

Next time you face a tricky issue with an alcohol licence variation, or you want more help tackling crime in your community, or you want to apply for business rate relief, you’ll want them to know that your business isn’t just important to you, it’s a valued and much-loved service operating right at the heart of your community.