A brief history of the shop ...
Since November 2012 the shop has been run for the community by a volunteer management committee and staffed initially by a team of volunteer shop assistants from the community. Since 2015 they have been led by a part-time paid shop manager which has enabled greater focus and support to all aspects of the business. The shop in every way remains very much “for the community” and “by the community”.
Prior to that, from October 2009 the shop was run on a not-for-profit basis by villagers Liz and Ron Faulkner with increasing support from a team of volunteers over the years. This approach served as a template when looking to see if the establishment of a Community Shop would be possible when Liz & Ron expressed their wish to hand over the reins in May 2012. A village meeting strongly supported efforts to establish a community shop and a number of villagers stepped forward to research what needed to be done and confirm its viability leading to Wilstone Community Shop opening its doors on the 1st November 2012.
For a brief period between March and June 2009 the shop was run as a business by Tim Fitzgerald but was not successful and had to close.
The shop had been run by a number of different owners up to September 2008 when the business also included a Post Office. It was the withdrawal of the Post Office by Royal Mail in September 2008 which resulted in the closure of the shop after many years of trading and as it became unprofitable as a business without it.
From August 2003 to August 2008 the shop and Post Office were run by Jenni Corsby.
In 1990 Diane Halfpenny took over the business, breathing much needed new life into it and creating a successful template enabling it to operate, along with the Post Office, until 2003.
The shop goes back over 120 years, one of two shops at one time in the village. It features in photographs from 1898 and was then run as a bakery and Post Office by George Hanwell. The shop was then in the large white building that currently houses Michael Armson Antiques.
In the 1960s it was bought by Fred & Elaine Scriven who lived there with Fred’s mother whilst they ran the shop and Post Office. It was during their ownership that the extension down the side of the building, where the current shop is located, was erected.
Throughout the 1970s the Post Office lease was transferred every two years until in 1979 John Kesby took the shop on with his wife. Unfortunately the business failed and the Kesby’s left suddenly leaving the buildings abandoned.
In 1991 the badly neglected buildings were put on the market to be sold ‘as seen’ and were subsequently purchased by Michael Armson for use by his well established antiques business. Whilst renovations were put in hand Michael became aware that people were missing their local grocery store and post office so, with the help of his partner Diane Halfpenny, he set up a six month trial to see if a business running alongside his antiques one might be viable.
Diane went on to successfully run the Village Stores for not just six months but for eleven years! She finally handed the business over to Jenni Corsby in 2003.
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