The 4th Annual General Meeting of Collyweston Community Shop took place on Wednesday 8th October 2014 at 7.30pm in Collyweston village hall.
Five committee members were present and one member of the public.
Chairman’s report In 2013/14 business continued to improve and it was reported that the shop has now reached a level at which the Committee felt confident that the shop’s future was secure. During the year a major refit of the shop premises was undertaken, which included the purchasing of of new freezers and equipment such as air conditioning. The introduction of the new equipment had increased outgoings but the shop was still able to make contributions to the local community as the re-fit was in the main funded by grant funding via Northamptonshire ACRE and the Rural Development Programme for England’s “Leader Project” sponsored by DEFRA. The chairman reported that due to the way the funding was allocated, the refit had resulted in an accounting loss of £2,528 for the year. Despite the loss, turnover for the year increased to just over £87,000 compared to £77,000 in the previous year. Stock purchases increased from £63,000 in 2012/13 to £79,000 in 2013/14 showing a significant increase. Stock loss had increased due to the shelf life of some products but every effort was being made to ensure this is kept to a minimum.
The Committee are still working towards the installation of a brown finger sign at the top of High Street to help direct potential customers, quotations for the manufacture of the sign were being sought. Northants Highways Department indicated that, whilst they cannot give direct permission for the sign, they would not object if one was erected PROVIDED it was exactly the same size and the lettering was the same size as the village hall sign, this may result in the sign not being as prominent but until artist’s proofs were received this would not be known.
The gritter project has been put on hold pending further investigations concerning insurance, however it was hoped that by bringing the winter road problems to the attention of the local authority more of our roads would be added to the gritting schedule, enquiries were being made via the Parish Council to this effect.
Over the years the shop has received considerable support from the local media with regular appearances on BBC Radio Northampton and mentions on Rutland Radio and in the Stamford Mercury, however the biggest support had been from its customers to whom the shop Committee are extremely grateful. The shop had experienced a steady increase in the number of ‘shoppers’ not only from the village but also from the surrounding communities of Ketton, Easton on the Hill, Duddington, Tixover, King’s Cliffe and, since introduction of the NEXT Returns facility, even further afield. The shop is also experiencing an increase in passing trade and in the summer it had been visited by holiday makers staying at Top Lodge (Fineshade) and the caravan site on Slate Drift. In September of the current year the shop had its best ever sales figures (excluding Christmas) during the week or Burghley Horse Trials.
The trend for the forthcoming year is a steady increase in sales turnover and profit. The chairman then commented that this success does not come without hard work and he thanked the Committee, the shop’s faithful volunteers and shop manager Rachel for their unending support and enthusiasm, the shop would not survive without them. He reported that more volunteers were urgently needed, particularly to cover for holidays and illness, and reiterated that if anyone wanted to get involved, meet new people and be part of a very worthwhile venture which makes a difference to their local community they could approach any committee member and requested that everyone spread the word. He reiterated that involvement in the shop was good fun, training is available and help is always at the end of a phone if a problem arose.
The chairman also thanked Helen and Kelvin at the Slater for the use of the committee room and for supplying the shop with sandwiches at a good price. He also thanked them for hosting the recent Senior Citizens Afternoon Tea Party, the event was well supported and he was pleased to report that new friendship had been forged between residents. The chairman also thanked Andrew and Davina West for providing storage space and also for their regular custom. A further thank you was extended to Burghley House Preservation Trust for being a supportive Landlord.
The chairman finished by reporting that a resident of the village, who is a painter and decorator, had volunteered to redecorate the exterior AND interior of the shop free of charge and he expressed the sincere thanks of himself and the Committee. Work is due to start shortly and he apologised in advance for any inconvenience to our customers.
Election of Officers – all officers stood down but were unanimously re-elected without objection.
Future Vision – the lease on the building is due to come to an end in April next year and the Committee are about to enter into discussions with the Landlord concerning a new lease. No problems were envisaged and the Committee are confident that the shop will continue to grow and be able to make donations to other community projects, subject to having enough volunteers to keep it open.