East Budleigh Community Shop goes from strength to strength

AN EAST BUDLEIGH shop has proved community spirit is alive and kicking after it was praised as being a lifeline by local residents.

Run by a team of volunteers, the community shop, which operates from the village hall car park, has reported making a profit just two years after opening.

In its latest annual report, published this month, it demonstrates the shop is going from strength-to-strength with an increase in sales during the previous accounting year and a rising profit margin.

Residents said the shop provided a ‘lifeline’ during December’s heavy snow and ice spell.

Its managers said a grant from the South West Regional Development Agency had enabled them to stock more products, leading to increased sales.

Local resident, Maureen Smith, who volunteers in the shop, said: “Now that the snow has cleared and the ice melted, we can see what a vital lifeline our community shop has provided during the awful weather, especially to our most vulnerable and elderly residents.

“Whilst we were all but stranded in East Budleigh and Yettington, the shop kept us supplied with all of our essentials and volunteers and suppliers alike have braved the elements to keep us open and running.

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“I really do not know how people would have coped without it.”

The East Budleigh community shop, housed in a portable building, cost �30,000 to open in 2008.

John Tresidder, chairman of the shop management committee, is optimistic about its future.

He said: “The future is very exciting because we have built a business with a sound financial footing at a time when many people are losing local shops which cannot compete with the supermarkets.

“We are generating a worthwhile surplus that we can reinvest to develop our services and support community projects.

“And as fuel prices soar, and people see we are open every day, whatever the weather, I am confident that our success will continue to grow.”

Mrs Smith added: “So many local shops close as people chose to shop elsewhere and in the big supermarkets so it is vital that people do not get complacent and they remember that you only get out of a community what you put into it.

“If we want to be able to have such a vital resource on our doorstep we must support the shop whatever the weather so it is still going strong next time we face such a struggle with the elements.”