Fighting the corner of convenience stores

Joseph Bulmer

TWO former workmates have become business partners to fight the corner of convenience stores in Bideford.

Robin Mann from Combe Martin and Christopher Moore from Carhampton, near Minehead, are reviving two community stores in the town which have been closed.

They have bought, refurbished and already re-opened the Stanhope Stores and former Post Office in Stanhope Terrace.

The pair have also taken on the lease of the Avon Road Stores at East-the-Water and are planning to have this shop open again within the next few weeks.

Robin said: “Christopher and I met when both working for the same retail company. I have worked in the convenience store trade for 20 years and Chris for six or seven years.

“We decided to go it alone and feel that Bideford is the ideal place to regenerate a bit of business. The Stanhope Stores had been closed for some two years and the Avon Road Stores for six or seven weeks.

From the reaction when we made our initial inquiries it was obvious that these stores are missed. We decided there is a need and there are plenty of rooftops in these areas. We hope to be able to make a success of them and to regenerate the areas a bit.

“We will be running the shops as traditional convenience stores, with all the things people expect to find. Stanhope has been refurbished and by taking in the former Post Office area, the shop is about double the size. It is now open from 6am to 9pm seven days a week.”

Their first five days of trading at Stanhope had been good, with 50 per cent trade and 50 per cent inquiries. They had received only good comments, he said.

“We have so far taken on two staff members and are expecting this to rise to half-a-dozen before Christmas. We are also trying to use as many local suppliers as we can.”