Peter Couchman is the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Plunkett Foundation is the organisation which promotes and supports co-operative and social enterprises in rural communities both in the UK and internationally. It provides support, networks and knowledge which offers practical solutions for rural communities that helps to create thriving places where people live and work now and in the future.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Convenience Retailing

I spent an amazing two days this week visiting stores in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset with the Plunkett advisors in those areas. Every store was an inspirational tale of how a community had overcome adversity to save or create their village store.

The store that showed me that anything is possible was Lanreath in Cornwall. Faced with the loss of the village store and no commercial premises available, they used the only public building in the village - the village toilet. The result is a fine store that uses every square inch of space (and still provides the previous facilities). If Lanreath can do this, then I can't think of a community that couldn't find a solution themselves.

As our advisor, David Geeves, put it, it brings a whole new meaning to convenience retailing.

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