Village’s only shop reopens after a year

A VILLAGE’S only shop has reopened after being closed for more than a year.

Aston Stores has become the Aston Community Shop, following months of hard work, and is being run by local volunteers.

After the store closed in August 2019, a steering group was created this January, and subsequently a community interest company (CIC) was set up to run the shop.

Shares were offered and bought by more than 50 residents, has the shop looked to reopen.

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Plans were placed on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, however a small team of volunteers set about refurbishing the shop in July.

Paul Read is one of the directors of the CIC, and has had his hands full getting the shop open.

He said: “Quite a bit of work has gone on, with the roof repaired, and then plastering, carpentry, and plumbing too.

“We ripped out the old shelves and installed new wooden ones, with the aim to make it look like something between a nice farm shop and a convenience store.

“There was a lot more heavy lifting than we anticipated but we took it all on.”

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Mr Read was one of three volunteers, working over six weeks, to refurbish the shop.

Once the main work was complete, more volunteers helped with the decorating of the store.

Mr Read explained that the shop would stock more than what it used to as it looks to branch out and support other local ventures.

“We’re selling all the basics you need, but also household goods too,” he said.

“We’re doing lots of local produce, including alcohol and then preserves are being made by a lady in Standlake, while a local delicatessen is providing fresh fruit and vegetables.”

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Looking ahead to the future, Mr Read said that the shop would be seeking more volunteers to help out.

“We are looking for more volunteers, as at the minute, we can only open until 2pm,” he said.

“There’s been a very positive reaction so far and people are saying it’s fantastic Aston has its shop again.

“The goal is that we want everyone in the village to use the shop, and at the moment we’re getting between 80 and 100 transactions a day.”

The Aston Community Shop is open seven days a week from 8:30am-2pm, with reduced hours of 8:30am-12pm on Sunday.