Village shop takes off

In the few months since St. Michael’s Stores in Shipton had its major overhaul and refurbishment, business has soared. Gone is the cramped space with crowded aisles and limited stock. The new shop is simply unrecognizable from its former, rather tired appearance.

As well as being considerably more spacious, it has gained two major new assets, namely the delicatessen and the hugely upgraded fruit and vegetable section. There is now a full range of green grocery instead of the rather withered offerings that were available in earlier days; the result, of course, is a gratifying rise in sales. And the delicatessen has really taken off. Perhaps this was more of a gamble but with Jimmy, the resident chef, in charge, this is far, far more than convenience food. Filled rolls and sandwiches fly out of the door, particularly first thing in the morning and at lunchtime. All flavours are on offer but the most popular is his steak sandwich. The meat comes from Kelmscott or from Patrick Strange at Bampton, so local sourcing is clearly a priority. Jimmy’s pate and quiches are a regular choice.

Within this positive picture, there’s only one fly in the ointment and that, unsurprisingly, is the post office which Jacqui and Shana are obliged to open during all shop hours; postal orders at 7 a.m. or serve the customers standing there with a newspaper in their hand? One transaction is paid for, the other not, and readers will quickly know which is which.

But all in all, this popular and much appreciated shop goes from strength from strength, deservedly so.

October – November 2017