We have to start this month’s article with a sad farewell. As mentioned in the May issue, our Chairman, Steve Smith, is stepping down from his post. He leaves us with this message:
Having been volunteering for the Village Store for four and a half years it’s been a privilege to take it from its promising start to being at the very heart of what makes the community what it is. I’m sure it will continue to thrive and be something always to be proud of. I also hope that my next community project, the village preschool, can grow and thrive to the same extent.
Jo O’Dell remembers the night she convinced Steve to join the Committee over a glass of wine (or two) in the Gun, adding “How glad I am that we have been fortunate enough to benefit from Steve’s brilliant input”. Our grateful thanks on behalf of the community go to Steve, who will undoubtedly be much missed. However, it is extremely reassuring to know that our new Chairman, Patrick Colville, who has acted as Vice Chair for the past year, knows the shop well and has already successfully addressed several of the necessary improvements with enthusiasm and energy. Annie Whitchurch is taking over as Vice Chair – you know her from these articles! Annie is really looking forward to learning more about, well, everything!
At this time of change it seemed appropriate to ask Angus, our hard-working Shop Manager, for his thoughts about our store. He in turn asked customers and volunteers for their views. Responses included such observations as: “We are so lucky to have a village shop where you can be sure of a warm welcome and buy almost everything you need”, “Volunteers are really dedicated to the cause”, “Stock is replenished quickly and efficiently; the shop always looks clean and attractive” (particular thanks are due here to our fantastic cleaning team led so beautifully by Ann Hughes)and, with proper appreciation of our unique appeal: “The banter is good and you always offer a friendly approach!”. Angus was particularly delighted to hear from one customer who doubtless represented the view of many in recognising that he “always goes the extra mile for customers”, something we all know to be true.
Angus also expressed his deep appreciation of Helen, his Deputy Manager, who with excellent humour takes responsibility for many administrative matters and greatly enhances the efficiency of the business. As if to illustrate this, Helen asked us to let customers know that the Post Office is now able to sell Amazon Gift Cards as well as All4one Gift Cards. It being holiday time, she also mentioned the PO facility for Foreign Exchange; Euros are held in stock and other currencies can be ordered. Also, if you happen to have a stash of old-style paper £20 or £50 notes, you are advised that these will be removed from circulation on 30th September although they may still be exchanged at the Post Office after this date.
Finally, just a reminder to please let us know if you are aware of anyone who offers accommodation in the village, either privately or commercially, and who may be happy to take a supply of our new leaflet promoting all the shop has to offer.
Findon Village Store is clearly seen as an incredibly positive asset in working with both customers and local businesses and it is immensely rewarding to all of us, not least to our retiring Chairman, to witness its success. Thank you to all customers for your support, and to everyone involved, past and present, for your remarkable dedication. The future is bright and there will be more exciting news next month!