25/10/06 Couple Frying in face of Competition

09:20 – 25 October 2006
Shopkeepers and other traders have donned their thinking caps and come up with new ways to beat their competitors.

Owners of rural and city-based stores have diversified to tempt more people through their doors.

And the Federation of Small Businesses’ said more need to follow their lead if they want to survive.

Today, Steve and Rachel Rousseau, of Fiskerton, told how they had taken the fast food route to increasing their success.

Meanwhile, a Lincoln newsagent has decided to sell “everyday basics” on a buy-what-you-need basis.

Mr and Mrs Rousseau took over The Wishing Well Stores in Fiskerton three years ago. Now, after creating extra space in the premises and adding their own in-store bakery, they have gone a step further and are selling fish and chips!

The enterprising couple, who have two children – Jessica (three-and-a-half) and Jade (one) – have bought and revamped a trailer and turned it into a fish-and-chip van.

And the aptly named ‘The Fishing Well’ has been parked up alongside their shop.

“You have to constantly keep coming up with new ideas. There is a lot of competition from supermarkets.

“Last year we extended and doubled the size of our shop and we now sell our own fresh bread and pasties. And we also have a hot drinks machine.

“Now we’ve decided to try selling fish and chips and we fry on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, between 12pm and 2pm and between 4pm and 8pm. It’s got off to a very positive start and we are getting support from villagers.”

A Lincoln newsagent has expanded into selling dry goods by weight to attract more customers. Castle Gate News, in Union Road, has recently started a Weigh and Save scheme and claims it has already proved a big hit with customers.

Owner Michael Foster said: “Everyone thinks it’s a brilliant idea. We have six large drums plus eight smaller ones filled with things like tea bags, breakfast cereals and drinking chocolate, so it means that people can buy as much or as little as they want.”

FSB Lincolnshire regional organiser Michael Self said: “With the pressure on smaller stores from supermarkets, shopkeepers are having to be considerably more creative in their offerings, to keep customers coming back.

“Otherwise, customers will end up spending more of their money in the tills of the major supermarkets and the smaller stores will become progressively less viable and more will close as a result.”