Festive greetings everyone,

It is always pleasing to send good news at the end of the year and on behalf of the management committee, I want to remind everyone of the highlights of 2015 and why we remain relevant and vital to our community here in Ascott.

We have:

  • Passed the 12 year trading point which means we are now well into our second decade (how many community shops can make that claim to fame!)
  • Built profit on profit; in the last three years the shop has accumulated over £6,000 surplus which will help to pay for equipment replacement and other improvements we deem necessary
  • Received excellent satisfaction ratings from customers and our team of volunteers
  • Improved systems and procedures (from our manager Bridgette) which makes life easier for those working the till position
  • New trade relationships in place with Wykham Farm ensuring we have well priced, fresh meat collected regularly by volunteers
  • Pre-planned for Christmas which meant we had over £1000 of orders (including ten delicious festive birds) which all went out the door to happy customers on December 22nd
  • Designed a fabulous Christmas display table for hampers and gift including special treats from the Fine Cheese Company of Bath
  • Increased volunteer coverage to keep cost levels low and profits high!
  • Set up the Saturday Club with a 100% team of volunteers to offset previously paid staff
  • Organised a volunteer led rota system; vital to ensure everyone does their fair share and no-one person is taken advantage of
  • Received great support from colleagues for those vital services such as; cleaning, maintenance, IT and in the new year, staff refresher training
  • Maintained stringent monitoring of waste which helps to maintain margins (again vital to our profitability)
  • Delivered consistent open communication i.e., figures are posted by Stuart each week so everyone gets to know how we are doing
  • Become a vital link with the community as well as a charity collection point for local, national and international charities

These are just some of our achievements and I hope it makes you feel as proud as I do to be involved in the shop’s success.

As we look forward to 2016, there will be more competition from on-line (even the mighty Amazon will supply more food products) and locally from Aldi in Chipping Norton. However, we will meet these challenges by building on a solid platform and looking to innovate where we can. We will NEVER be complacent and where we need to improve we will that too!

So, DO come and celebrate with us on Sunday January 3rd at 1pm for the annual stock-take. As Bridgette commented; "It’s Ascott’s first social event of the year and one not to be missed!” We will make sure there is a glass of fizz for everyone as a THANK YOU for a memorable 2015 and an exciting and productive year to come in the life of our village shop.

A Happy New Year,

John, Bridgette, Sally, Mark & Stuart