Many moons ago, back in the 1990s, Briantspuddle Village Shop was located near the Crossroads in the village (see picture below) It had been trading there for over 50 years, selling everything from cooked hams to paraffin. There was a Post Office in the shop too, and, as an added amenity, the Post Box was outside in the wall and a Telephone Box across the road. By the 1990s the then owners wished to retire and ceased trading in September 1997. They sold the building and it became a private residence.
Losing the shop and Post Office was a blow to the village so a new location was urgently sought, and soon The Granary (see picture below), adjacent to the Village Hall, was acquired with permission from the Parish Council. The fittings from the old shop were dismantled along with the Post Office counter, which was built using local bricks! They were trundled down in a small trailer to the new premises. This was an exciting time. The old shelves were soon stocked with basic supplies a very small, very old freezer was donated. In fact most fittings were second hand in those days. The problem was finding staff to run the shop. The turnover was small and so were the wages so it was difficult to continue for long on these lines.
Then, in 2002 came the idea of a Community Shop run by volunteers – and what a brilliant idea that turned out to be! It needed a lot of organisation of course, but by this time the shop was recognised as an asset to the village and so people offered to work behind the counter, collect the daily newspapers, or work in the Post Office under a trained Postal worker. In fact the Post Office now offers a full service except for Motor Vehicle Tax. Quite an achievement. The shop was then registered as an Association (Friends of Briantspuddle Post Office and Shop Association)
Also, in 2002, we were accepted into the Sainsbury’s SAVE scheme, (Sainsbury’s Assisting Village Enterprise). This allowed us, along with many other Community shops around the country, to sell Sainsbury’s ‘own brand goods’.
Very gradually there was a noticeable improvement to the interior of the shop when new shelves and a more modern freezer and fridge. Were installed. So the variety of goods on sale increased fast. Artists who lived in the village supplied cards depicting local scenes and our very own potter provided a lovely display of her beautiful pottery.
Fruit and Vegetables were always a problem because the shop was not cool enough to keep them fresh. A chiller has now been installed which has made a considerable difference.
In 2010, the shop received the first annual ‘DORSET PEOPLE ‘S PROJECT AWARD’ which was a big pat on the backs for the 30 and more volunteers who have made the shop what it is today–continuing to serve the village as it has done for over 60 years as well as providing a place for villagers to meet each other and have a chat.