A village forecourt has won a national community award for its 39 years of service to its customers, with Newark MP Patrick Mercer dropping in to make the presentation.
Rampton Service Station in Nottinghamshire is the only store in a 10-mile radius and provides hundreds of older and less mobile residents in the surrounding villages with their only place to shop. A lifeline for local people who can’t make the trip to the nearest supermarket, the store has gradually grown since owners Linda and Richard Sheppard started in 1973 with just four items on the shelves. They are currently preparing to celebrate 40 years of service to the community by doubling the size of the shop and adding a tea table for customers to sit and catch up with village activities.
Patrick Mercer MP presented the store with the My Shop is Your Shop Community Retailing Award, given to one shop in each parliamentary constituency by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which represents the wholesalers that supply around 30,000 independent local shops. He said: “I’m delighted to be able to present the award to Linda and her staff. They have been doing a fantastic job in the village for decades now and I look forward to seeing the store when they complete their expansion later this year.”
The shop supports local suppliers and sells meat and milk from nearby farms, with vegetables coming from the surrounding area. Open seven days a week, it provides a home delivery service for pensioners, makes up vegetable boxes and provides fuel and MOTs for the area. Workers at the nearby hospital and power station drop in for sandwiches and ready meals.
Linda Sheppard says: “We see ourselves as more than just a shop. I enjoy providing a service for our neighbours, particularly the elderly. Some of them find it hard to get out, and we’ll all be there one day, and I hope there will be someone there for us when the time comes. A good local shop is the centre of village gossip – we hear everything and say nothing!” Despite these old-fashioned values the store is also moving with the times, with a new website and online ordering service on its way.
David Visick of the My Shop is Your Shop campaign said: “Linda and the team really understand the value of community retailing. They stock a huge range of products but more than that they know everyone for miles around and treat them like friends. It’s a great community shop and a deserving winner of the MSYS award for this constituency.”