Some two years ago, the village of Broughton was faced with the closure of its village shop and post office. With an overwhelmingly positive mandate from the village for a community shop, a small group came up with a plan – and a green metal ‘shipping’ container was ‘dropped’ on to the forecourt of the Village Hall in July 2018. Funded by a Community Share offer and perfectly fitted out by volunteers, this opened as Broughton’s own ‘Shop in a Box’ four weeks later and, for the last 15 months, has served the village brilliantly. Its compact ‘space’ was packed with a wide range of goods – truly a ‘quart in a pint pot’!
But this was just an interim solution. The dedicated space in the extensively refurbished and extended Memorial Village Hall has definitely been worth waiting for – and, on 2nd December, Broughton Community Shop opened its new doors in the amazing extension at the back of the Hall, gathering up a Post Office counter and coffee shop along the way.
The vaulted ceiling, glass wall and wide aisles give such a feeling of space. The laden shelves carry all the essentials, fresh and frozen produce but now there is room for much more with a real emphasis on local suppliers. To name but a few, Broughton buffalo sits alongside local free-range pork and the chillers boast a range of Hampshire cheeses, locally made quiches and pies as well as Chalkstream trout. Cheese soufflés, honey and beer made in Broughton have the lowest food miles but the delicious New Forest chocolates and range of chutneys from Pig ‘n’ Pickles are not far behind. Cards and stationery are complemented by beautiful cards from local artists. Artisan breads make Saturdays in the Shop extra special. And, in pride of place, there is a range of dry and liquid refillables: just bring your own container and buy as much or as little as you like, reducing single use plastic and doing that little bit extra for our environment. Broughton Community Shop is also now a stockist for award-winning Laithwaites wine. A high-quality dry-cleaning service continues and, of course, orders can be placed for almost anything – the Shop likes a challenge!
The Post Office counter, staffed by the Manager and Assistant Manager, offers all the services of a local post office in a calm and uncrowded environment. And the addition of the Coffee Shop serving a range of hot drinks and delicious home-made cakes invites customers to stop for a moment, meet with friends or sit and watch the world go by.
Just as in the Box, enthusiastic teams of volunteers have taken ownership of everything from sorting the newspapers to operating the till and serving customers with a smile as well as their coffee and cake, from cashing up to placing orders from our suppliers. It truly is a team effort and it makes the Shop a great place to volunteer as well as, of course, to shop! Customers range from locals who do their entire weekly shop to those who just pop in to get their newspaper, post a parcel or pick up something missing from a recipe. Passing walkers, cyclists and trades continue to take advantage of snacks and cold drinks – and of course it is already becoming a destination for coffee, tea and cake.
Broughton Community Shop is well on its way to fully achieving its overarching aim of becoming a real hub of this very special village community.
Shop opening hours: 8.00-17.30 weekdays, 8.30-12.30 Saturdays and 9.30-12.30 Sundays. For further information, please see www.broughtonvllageshop.co.uk or contact Broughton Community Shop on 01794 502495, email [email protected] or follow us on FaceBook @ broughtonvillageshop.