SPOTLIGHT ON....... FROXFIELD STORES
Howard & Charlotte
Tell me, how did you become a newsagent?
My grandad left the Royal Marines and decided to start up a shop. He bought a newsagent's in Farlington and then decided to move to Cosham and started up another shop there. My father had a little toy shop as his first business and then eventually took over my grandad's newsagents. I have always been interested in this line of work, I grew up playing shops in the back office of the newsagency itself, playing with the old fashioned scales. So that is how it started for us as a family and now I am a third generation newsagent.
When did you start in the family business?
I started working part-time in the family business when I was 12 years old. I then moved out of my parents' place when I was 17 and lived with family and at the same time went and worked for a supermarket for 12 years. Dad became ill so I moved back home. After a series of events, I decided to move jobs and eventually went back to work for our family's newsagent's in Cosham. Times are always hard in this business, after the family business had been trading for nearly half a century my mum decided to shut down the shop. At that point I became a relief worker on the road, covering shops all over the country.
How did you hear about Froxfield Village Stores?
A friend of mine told me about a shop in Froxfield, so I came up and had a look and the rest is history! I'd never lived in the countryside before that, but my wife Charlotte had. For me moving to Froxfield was all about having a better quality of life and making sure my daughter got a good education. We've been here for nearly 12 years.
In your opinion what's the best and worst part of being in this trade?
The worst part of this business is that there isn't any money to be made in it, but that would be the same wherever your shop was. Don't listen to any newsagent who says he's making money from his business. The best bit however, is it offers a good quality of life, meeting different people every day and making friends... every day is different!
What are your opening hours?
The shop is open from 7am-6pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5.30pm on Saturdays and 8.30am-1.30pm Sundays.
What do you sell?
We sell all the basics to restock your kitchen cupboard and fridge including bread, milk, cheese, cereals, eggs, jam, confectionery and newspapers. You can even pick up your prescriptions here if you're a patient at West Meon surgery.
Has operating the Post Office made a difference?
The Post Office has made a massive difference both to the business and in giving me an extra incentive to get up and go to work in the morning. I have learnt so many new skills, it has added a few strings to my bow! There is no doubt the Post Office brings more people in to the shop and if the past couple of years are anything to go by, I can see the Post office's trade getting steadily busier. It will most likely become a Post Office supported by a village shop rather than a shop supported by the Post Office.
What else does the Post Office offer the community?
The Post Office offers people so much more than just selling stamps and sending and receiving post. You can get fishing licenses here, foreign currency, euros on demand and other currencies can be ordered in, banking services and foreign travel insurance. The Post Office is also a delivery point for the Royal Mail, for example, if you order anything from Amazon delivered by the Royal Mail, you can arrange for it to be delivered here. This avoids leaving parcels outside your home when you're out for the day.
Tell us the story of Froxfield's Defibrillators?
When I came to the village I couldn't believe that there wasn't a defibrillator here. I never understood it! I wanted to challenge myself and tried to do a 5km run, but that seemed too easy. I thought if I could do 5km then perhaps I should try to raise a few hundred quid in doing so. I was given a treadmill and really enjoyed training on that. 5km soon became 10 miles for the 'Great South Run'. I started raising money. It took me about 12 months to prepare for the run. I lost weight and did everything I could to complete it. Having never run before in my life, I managed to run and raise £3,500, which was enough money to buy two defibrillators! A kind person in the community then purchased a third defibrillator so we could have 3 in total, situated at the village hall, village shop and in Privett!
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Why not pop into the Village Stores, buy something for your fridge or larder and meet our very own heroic, 10 mile running, charity fundraising champion, Howard?!
Froxfield Stores & Post Office are situated at:
High Cross, Froxfield GU32 1EH
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contact Angela: 01730 827006