Once a humble convenient shop, Amberley Village Stores and Post Office, based in High Street, Amberley, has been transformed into a ‘vital life-line’ by owner Colin Woods.
The store prides itself on local produce such as milk, cream, wine, fruit and vegetables which are sourced from suppliers in nearby villages, helping the local economy and reducing ‘food miles’
Colin, the former manager of Amberley Footbal Club, explains how the tenth anniversary is “a great feeling”.
“I came out of semi-retirement after I was made redundant about twelve years ago from Norwich Union. So I did all the normal things you’d expect a retired person to do - play golf and a lot of gardening - but it got to the stage where I became bored of that, so I took over the shop.
“It was facing closure as it was quite run down at the time, and needed an injection of money to get a large amount of stock in.
“The locals are very pleased with it, especially as so many other shops in the area have closed down. We cover everything so that the people who no longer drive can still get the facilities they need from our large variety of stock.
“Local produce is one of the most important aspects to the stores not only because of the food miles within the area. We use people from all the surrounding areas such as Washington, Pulborough and Bury. It’s a case of trying to get everyone to work together, and attempting to avoid certain environmental issues that are around.”
He added: “The store is very much the heart of the community, and the more it’s used, the more it can develop and serve its customers’ needs.”
Since the take-over, Colin has introduced new lines such as Amberley Village Stores own label items including pickles, jams, marmalades, biscuits and sweets.
On top of providing nearly 3,000 lines, the store offers free delivery of groceries, coal and logs for those who require it.
Colin and his staff are now looking forward to the promising future that lies ahead for the store which has been described by locals as “the hub of village life”.