STEVE AND RACHEL SEE FUTURE IN RURAL STORE
Shopkeepers Steve and Rachel Rousseau are setting their sights on expansion after taking a big “leap of faith”.
Just four months after taking a gamble on a village store, they are enthusiastically looking at way to offer customers more.
When Mr Rousseau, a former pub landlord in Lichfield, Staffordshire and his Sudbrooke-born wife decided to return to the county, they originally thought of taking a pub.
But when that plan fell through, they surfed the Internet for other ideas and snapped up the Wishing Well Stores in Fiskerton instead.
Pygott & Crone Commercial, which had shown several potential buyers around the shop, is pleased it is doing so well.
Mr Rousseau said that, since moving in, the couple have revamped and restocked the shop.
Now the proud parents of six-month-old Jessica are looking to build on their great start.
“We not going to threaten Tesco at the moment – but Tesco isn’t going to put us out of business either,” said Mr Rousseau.
The couple, who have kept on assistant Susan Hobson, said they had increased trade by 70 per cent over the past 12 weeks.
“Village stores have been disappearing at a tremendous rate, but we thought that there was a viable business here, with a lot of potential,” said Mr Rousseau.
“The store requires a lot of hard work and we’re open all hours, including Sundays, but we have are enjoying more time with Jessica.”
The couple have recently introduced fresh fruit and vegetables to the shop, which sells everything from groceries to wines and spirits and is the only store in the village.
“We source as much as we can from local suppliers, take telephone orders and can deliver to homes in the village,” said Mr Rousseau.
“We are re-establishing newspaper deliveries, which will include the Echo.
“We are also hoping to double the size of our shop and develop a mini-garden centre in about 18 months time.”
Mrs Rousseau, a personnel manager who formerly worked with the probation service in the West Midlands, said: “We initially thought about taking a nearby pub, but that did not happen,” she said.
“I was looking on Pygott & Crone’s Internet site and saw the shop was available and that triggered a new line of thought.”
Pygott surveyor Ben Kendall said: “This sale is an interesting example of how useful Internet marketing can be.
“There are often situations in which owners who are selling businesses want a low key market approach so that the business isn’t damaged. We had the stores on the market for several months, without many people being aware that it was being sold.”