Aspatria Farmers Ltd is an agricultural co-operative formed in 1870 by a group of West Cumbrian farmers who were disillusioned with the quality of products they were being supplied and the service they received from the local agricultural suppliers in business at that time.
Since then they have diversified their product range into a number of sectors including domestic pet and equestrian supplies, household products, gardening, clothing (leisure, workwear, equestrian), footwear and amenity products (for use on golf courses, forestry, football pitches, industrial sites, etc).
What is not as well recognised as it might be is that Aspatria Farmers is open to the general public and that the values of “quality, service, price” established in 1870 continue to be upheld.
Change is in hand at Aspatria Farmers and our Shop Doctor will be working with them to help ensure that they successfully continue to meet the needs of their membership whilst maximising their retail store opportunities and reaching out to a wider customer base.
The recent Let’s Talk Shop support programme in East Lothian provided opportunity for ten independent businesses in East Lothian to receive one-to-one advice from The Shop Doctor in the days following the retail masterclass held on the evening of Tuesday 26th August.
Businesses participating in the programme were Footlights Dancewear and Haddington Herbals in Haddington; whynot?, Tulipa and The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick; Knowes Farm Shop in East Linton; Dunbar T-shirt Shop and 1650 Coffee Shop in Dunbar; Cashmere Barn at Fenton Barns Retail Village and The Merrygoround in Gullane.
Each of the businesses will be receiving a comprehensive Shop Doctor Recommendations Report detailing potential opportunities to help further develop retail vitality within each of the diverse range of businesses visited.
Haddington Farmers’ Market, held on the last Saturday every month, also received a visit from The Shop Doctor with the objective of identifying routes to further enhance footfall to this popular and very friendly event.
Each of the 17 stalls active on the day were reviewed, as was the way in which the market as a whole engaged with customers.
Following a recent request for advice our Shop Doctor was pleased to meet with the committee responsible for running this small community shop based in an outbuilding of the Derby Arms Pub in Witherslack , Cumbria.
The committee was last advised when the shop was near to opening its doors in 2008 and, since then, although the business has seen growth some seasonal ebbing and flowing in relation to meeting local need has not yet enabled the shop to achieve its potential.
The dedicated committee of volunteers now feels that a sales plateau has been reached and have been keen to seek ways to further develop the business, hence their call to Let’s Talk Shop.
After spending some time meeting with the committee and reviewing the shop a short recommendations report has been provided identifying a list of opportunities that should help the business to develop even further. In addition it is hoped that the all involved in running the shop have been motivated by the visit and will be able to assess potential opportunities from a different perspective.
The shop is operated as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.
Eight stallholders at Dumfries Farmers’ Market benefited from a visit from The Shop Doctor in May to help identify opportunities to improve their visual merchandising. The stalls visited were A Bee Provided (honey products), Annanwater (lamb, hogget and mutton), Barlochan Highland Beef, Buy Heck! (preserves), Dessert Me, Galloway Chillies, Garrocher Market Garden and The Little Bakery.
Each stall was identified as having specific challenges. A list of bespoke recommendations was formulated and included within a comprehensive report supplied to each of them.
The recommendations included items relating to the positioning of the stalls, presentation of each stall and the products within it, marketing material, signage, and customer service.
It is hoped that the reports will help generate improved awareness of the opportunity to better engage customer interest within a farmers’ market environment.
Visiting the Farm Shop and Deli Show on Tuesday March 25th provided an excellent opportunity for our Shop Doctor to meet with many of the excellent local food and craft producers exhibiting at the NEC.
The show was running alongside The National Convenience Show, Food & Drink Expo and Foodex.
In addition to the diverse range of food producers, exhibitors included a range of suppliers supporting the retail sector. The interest of The Shop Doctor was particularly drawn to the following:
EcoBags – custom made Jute, Non-Woven, Cotton and Cooler Bags – www.ecobags.co.uk
The Menu Shop – much more than just menus – www.menushop.co.uk
Gadsby – wicker and wooden products – www.gadsby.co.uk
Linkshelving ltd – rustic display equipment – www.linkshelving.com
Baro Lighting U.K Ltd – interesting and very effective range of retail lighting – www.baro.co.uk
Certainly worth taking a look at their websites.