Trade and retail

Thinking about setting up shop? Whether you’re interested in starting or saving a local shop, pub or cafe, this guide will help you get started.village store

With an estimated 400 village shops and 1,300 pubs closing across the UK in 2010 alone, the disappearance of local services is an all too common story for rural communities across the UK.

But an increasing number of villages are fighting back by setting up and running their own enterprises, saving vital rural services from closure or reopening those that have already closed.

A staggering 258 village shops across the UK are now owned and run by the community itself. These locally owned shops typically have around 125 members (owners) and are run either wholly or partially by around 25 volunteers.

No two community shops are the same, with some located in former shops and some in new buildings, while others are in churches, pubs, village halls or converted buildings, with one even operating from a former public toilet block!  

Increasingly, communities are trying to save their local pub, such as The Barge Inn in Honeysteet.  Like shops, pubs need the support of the community, with around 100 members and a band of willing volunteers – often led by a professional tenant or a pub manager – and may even incorporate a range of other services such as a cafe, a Post Office or even a library.

But rural communities aren’t stopping with shops and pubs. They are turning to community ownership to set up and run other retail enterprises like cafes, country markets and farmers’ markets.

Next steps

Get community support for your idea or read how others have made a success of local trade. Visit Village Communities to connect with other communities involved in local trade. Or check out these useful organisations: