It store is a great day for Stebbing villagers
- Credit: Archant
THE sound of bagpipes marked the long-awaited opening of a Stebbing convenience store.
Villagers and dignatries gathered for the occasion, which represented the end of an extensive renovation and hard work to get a shop again after more than years.
The project needed £30,000 in shares – mainly bought by villagers – and a £10,000 grant to get it off the ground.
Peter Hall, chairman of the Stebbing Village Stores Committee, said: “It would be a great resource for the community, particularly if it was like this every day!
“We offer exactly what people want in a village shop – we just have to hope people keep coming in.”
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About 40 volunteers, mainly villagers, have been recruited to provide a seven-day rota cover.
Crowds gathered at the The Old Friends Meeting House before being led, by a piper, to the store in the High Street.
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Then Helen Melia, of the Plunkett Foundation, which helps rural communities through community-ownership to take control of the issues affecting them, cut the red ribbon to welcome them in.
Mrs Melia said the occasion represented a “huge amount of hard work” by the village, adding: “Ultimately, they have pulled together and made this happen.
“This is a lot more than just an important service because everyone worked together to create it.
“We find these types of shops do not fail because if something does go wrong there are people there to help.”
The first customers into the store were nine-year-old Summer Paveley and six-year-old Bella Burgess, who won ‘The Stebbing Stores’ painting competition.
They were soon joined by villagers eager to get a first glimpse of the shop.
One resident, Sarah Walker, said: “It is fantastic and I am really looking forward to being able to shop locally and particularly to buy locally-sourced products. I have a six-year-old son and I am excited about him being able to experience community shopping.”
The shop will focus on high quality goods at the best possible price, with fresh vegetables and speciality breads stocked. There is also a variety of brand items on offer.
All profits made will be ploughed back into improving the shop, or donated to other societies that benefit the community.