Unfortunately the efforts to try and keep the village shop open have been unsuccessful. The proposed closure date for the shop is 13 April. The post office service will still be available for 2 hours per week from the village hall. The Community Trust is still talking with the Post Office about the details of how this will work.
Open meeting – 5 February
A brief history
The shop used to be located at 5 Lower Achagoyle and following closure in late 2005, the Community Trust was able to buy the current premises and work with Mike & Syb Masters of Furnace Village Store to keep a shop in the village as an ‘outreach’ operation of the Furnace store.
For a number of reasons, including declining trade, Mike & Syb have decided to end their lease of the shop. A specific date has still to be set, but is likely to be at the end of March 2018.
“It is with huge regret that Mike & Syb have decided to cease their involvement with Minard Shop. The marked decline in sales over the last few months has made this always marginal business unviable. Although the fixed Post Office income covers the running costs of the shop, once staff wages are taken into account, the remaining profit from shop sales left them earning less than £2.50 per hour for their time at the shop. Mike & Syb feel especially for those few who went out of their way to support the shop and those who rely on it for basic supplies. Sadly, their purchases are not sufficient to keep the business afloat. Should any individual or group seek to try and maintain the service on a voluntary basis, they would be only too happy to offer advice and support.”
Mike & Syb Masters, Jan 2018
The business has been on the market for 2 years along with the shop in Furnace. In that time there has been little interest in purchasing the business.
The Community Trust invited expressions of interest in April 2016 to explore options should the shop business be sold and a new owner show no interest in maintaining the lease on the Minard shop. There was one response that did not develop further once further details had been explored.
In April 2017 the Community Trust conducted a survey about the village shop to try and find ways to help support the shop. Click here to see the results.
The shop provides valuable lease income for the Community Trust that helps maintain the shop, village hall and run some activities in the village.
At this stage the aim is to gather ideas and explore each in more detail to see what is the most viable option for the future of the building where the shop is located. The Community Trust will work with West Loch Fyne Community Council and any other interested parties to find a solution that works in the best interests of the village. Mike & Syb have said that they are also happy to work with anyone interested in taking on the Post Office business as the basis for another business based in the shop.
Suggestion that have been made so far include:
- A voluntary run coop with post office
- Someone to take over the shop and post office in its entirety
- A Post Office and craft shop
- Refurbish as a small one bed-roomed flat and rent out
- Sell and use the income to fund improvements to the hall or other priorities in the village
- A venue for occasional ‘pop up’ shops
- Coffee shop and post office
- Pub/bar where locals could meet over the weekend’s etc
- Community health hub as a base or focal point for health related activities in the village
Members of the Community Trust management committee have limited capacity to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the shop or any other business based there. The implication of this is that if there is a directly managed operation, including volunteer led, then we are looking for someone else in the village to step forward and work on this.
Do you have an idea?
If you have a suggestion to share, please fill out the form below and we’ll add it to the list above. If you would like to contact us in confidence about possible opportunities, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org