Village shop celebrates anniversary

A VILLAGE shop that reopened after nearly five years of closure has just celebrated its one-year anniversary - and business is booming.Charles Boyce, who re-opened the Woodton village store in May last year, said that he was pleased with how the local community has supporting the business.

A VILLAGE shop that reopened after nearly five years of closure has just celebrated its one-year anniversary - and business is booming.

Charles Boyce, who re-opened the Woodton village store in May last year, said that he was pleased with how the local community has supporting the business.

He decided to re-open the shop last year because he felt that it had left a hole in village life. When it closed in 2003, villagers were left with no choice but to drive or get a bus to another village to do their shopping.

Now it appears that the shop has once again become a central point in the community.


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“I'm very pleased and I believe they're very pleased with it,” said Mr Boyce, 51. “They've all supported it as best they can. We get a good mix of people - the kids coming in on the way to school for their sweets and people coming in on the way home from work for their meal.

“I'm never going to be a millionaire, but it's very fulfilling and it's nice to be a part of the community.”

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The shop stocks everything from newspapers to farm produce. There is particular emphasis on supporting local suppliers, with meat coming from a butcher in Hempnall, apple juice from Ilketshall St Lawrence, milk

from Ditchingham, and bread from Royston's Bakery in Long Stratton.

Since opening in May last year, the shop has gone from strength to strength, and it now also provides a paper round service, which started in September, as well as DVD rental.

Mr Boyce, who has lived in neighbouring Bedingham for 25 years with his family, employs Woodton residents to help run the shop.

Edward Hirst, who lives in Hempnall Road, is one such employee. He was offered the job by Mr Boyce because they knew each other through their shared hobby of bell ringing.

“It helps with getting the community spirit together,” said Mr Hirst, 50. “I think people had forgotten what it's like to have a village shop. Some of the older people have said it's nice because you bump into people you wouldn't normally see.”

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