When Leicestershire retailer Richard Kent and his wife Lynn launched their new look Evington Village Store last month, the feeling was unlike any other’s.
As they went on with the refurbishment of the store, their plans were drastically hampered when Richard fell ill and was very close to losing his life.
“We got the store in January 2018 and had an 18-month plan to get the business back on its feet, grow our sales and develop the shop into a Nisa Local fascia store,” Richard said.
“A few months after we started out, I fell ill, and it was touch and go for me for a while – we honestly didn’t know if I was going to make it. It has been a long time coming and so being able to stand here with our new store really is fantastic and makes us both very proud.”
When the couple took over the store it was not performing well, weekly sales were poor and villagers didn’t make good use of the provision.
Richard introduced new lines to the store, including a core range of Co-op own brand products which are popular with local people, and worked with local suppliers to introduce fresh breads and cakes to his offer.
The refurbishment has seen a new focus on food to go with the addition of Tango Ice Blast, f’real, Costa Coffee and Rollover machines.
The building work was undertaken to make better use of the space available, moving a large stock room to create more room for chillers and improve the layout for shoppers, making their in-store experience more enjoyable.
“The villagers are really happy with the store and we’ve worked hard to become part of the community so it’s great to see them coming in and they’re impressed by what we’ve done,” he said.
“At the end of the day, I very nearly wasn’t here to see this through and so I am very thankful that I am and for all the support that Nisa has given to Lynn and myself in order for us to get to where we are today.”