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    Exclusive: This Welsh c-store is keeping community close-knit

    Retailer Trudy Davies

    It is no hidden secret that independent convenience stores thrive when they are woven into the fabric of the community they serve. By staying closely connected, they become more than just places to shop—they become gathering spots and meeting points, buzzing with local causes. From knowing customers by name, providing assistance to elderly people to supporting neighborhood events, convenience stores can end up playing a vital role in shaping its community.

    Wales’ Woosnam & Davies News is one such phenomenal example which ticks all the criteria of a community-embedded local store in true sense. Running independently in Llanidloes, the store actively supports charities, drives various campaigns and strongly backs local businesses.

    Thanks to all-the-year-round activities that stem from it, Woosnam & Davies News is less of a conventional corner shop and more of a community hub. Run by spirited and seasoned retailer Trudy Davies, the store today caters to more than 2,500 residents while supporting more than 60 local charities.

    Speaking to Asian Trader, Davies dwelled in detail on how she goes way beyond the strict definitions of retailing, thereby stretching herself day and night for some or the other cause.

    She said, “I have over the years always strived to be a responsible, sustainable and community focused retailer.

    “I believe if you are a truly genuine community spirited retailer, your customers acknowledge that. People, I believe, can see through you whether you are just a retailer that does a token community support or truly cares about others.

    “I believe the USP of my store is passion, personality and the community in which we live in. My community has always been at the heart of every decision.”

    Exclusive: This Welsh c-store is keeping community close-knit

    The store has been standing for more than 25 years. Earlier it was a traditional newsagent but ever since it came under Davies, it expanded into various categories.

    “We recently have added a refill section to push our efforts to be more sustainable as well as to give our customers more choice,” she added.

    Apart from its unique range that includes local produce and locally-made products as well as branded-ones, what makes the store stand apart is the slew of charities and causes that it initiates and supports.

    Be it fundraising for local and national charities, collection drives for the homeless, donations or rallying for a knitters’ group, the store is always buzzing with some or the other community activity throughout seasons. Some of causes that the store supports are cancer support charity Marie Curie, Alzheimer Society and Helping Our Homeless Wales.

    Davies said, “We have introduced so many schemes in store for the community over the years. It’s an ongoing process and we always are adding to them.”

    One of the most interesting and one-of-its-kind initiative that the store supports is “Made With Llani Love”.

    “Through ‘Made With Llani Love’, we supply wool to our group of friends in the community who knit crochets and other materials from mittens to blankets. Every year, thousands of items get distributed by us to all over the UK covering hospitals, emergency vehicles, care homes, homeless and refugee charities.

    Exclusive: This Welsh c-store is keeping community close-knit

    “In 2023, we made and donated over 6000 items,” she said, adding that most recently, she paid a visit to Llanidloes Hospital to donate some colorful blankets knitted and crocheted by her group.

    Furthermore, the store frequently organises collection drives to collect toiletries, bed cloths, gloves, scarves, hats to be distributed among the homeless.

    “We also raise funds for hundreds of charities by way of raffles, collections boxes, quiz sheets and many other ways to support our community groups. And that’s how we donate our VAT (Valuable Added Treat),” she said.

    As a nod to her experience, skill and hold on retailing, Davies has been named as the district president for all the West Midlands branches of The Federation of Independent Retailers. She has held posts within the federation for the West Midlands as a national councilor and vice president and is also currently secretary of the Shropshire branch; she has been a member for 27 years.

    She stated, “We also give away ‘Goody Bags’ as acts of kindness. We give these bags to groups, individuals or even local organizations like staff of the local hospital. At Christmas we provide gifts to approximately 200 children.”

    Exclusive: This Welsh c-store is keeping community close-knit

    To cut down food wastage in its own unique way, time and again, the store runs initiatives like giving away a loaf of bread for free to whoever asks for it, with “no judgment or questions asked”.

    Last winter when the country shivered amid rising electricity bills and cost of living crisis, the store kept its community warm through “Warm Hands, Warm Feet, Warm Hearts”, a scheme whereby Davies’ store gave away about 400 hot water bottles to groups and needy individuals.

    “Activities like these show we care. Small things can make all the difference to a store, as it is our community that keeps us relevant. I always say that we want our customers to visit for reasons other than just buying the supplies. We want them to come and be surprised to know what is happening.”

    It won’t be an exaggeration to say that this store in Wales is a shining example of what a convenience store can achieve and how it can evolve from corner shop into a cherished landmark.

    Woosnam & Davies News is less of a local newsagent and more of a destination to find anything and everything – be it daily supplies, services or even help in a time of need. You name it, the store has it!

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