You would think that oil companies would be tripping over themselves to supply Malcolm and Sue Bodell’s Londis store. They took over an old village inn and transformed the dance hall into an all singing-dancing c-store. In a bit over a year, their turnover has tripled.
There isn’t much the 2,700sq ft store doesn’t offer (except car care for obvious reasons). It has newspapers, magazines, top-ups, utilities payments, groceries, off licence, plus a massive fruit and veg range and local produce including over two dozen locally-made cheeses. With a catchment area of around eight miles, Bridge Stores as it is named, could be more accurately described as a minimarket. It has parking space for 30 cars and takes around £20,000 a week. The basket spend is a very high £8 to £10 and that is purely on ‘grocery’.
While sitting in the bar one night (which is now their sitting room), Malcolm and Sue wondered what else they could offer the community. “The nearest petrol pump is five miles away and is up for sale,” says Malcolm, “and the two in our village have closed.”
So he approached Butlers, which said it wasn’t interested in opening more sites and Esso, which was also on the wrong side of lukewarm.
Why is this? Is it because they trade at Bow which is an out-of-the-way village in the shadow of the northern edge of Dartmoor?
People do live in the hinterland. They visit it too. Although I wouldn’t want to mislead readers into thinking that Bow is on the tourist trail. It isn’t. But it has a large rural community. Not badly off. “I’ve never seen a farmer short of a bob or two, no matter what they say,” says Malcolm.
They can’t all be sticking tractor diesel in their cars can they? Any interested supplier can give me a call and I’ll put you in touch.