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Ideas for the future of Minard’s community-owned shop include a cafe, pub, craft shop…and even a massage parlour.
But one thing is for sure – if no-one comes forward soon to take over the lease, the village shop and post office will close. And this will have a wider impact beyond the loss of a handy place to buy teabags.
Operated as a shop and post office for the past 12 years by Mike and Syb Masters of Furnace Village Store, the future now depends on finding a new lessee after the couple announced their intention to give up the lease. And their contract with the Post Office ends on March 15, so time is pressing.
At a well-attended public meeting on February 5, Minard Community Trust, which owns the shop premises, set out the position.
The bottom line is the shop is vital to the future of other trust responsibilities, particularly Minard Village Hall. Trust chairman Brian Barker said: ‘If the shop closes it will have a big impact. The vast majority of income comes from the lease and this helps to keep the hall open.’
The community trust first invited expressions of interest in April 2016 after Mike and Syb decided to move on.
Two potential tenants have expressed interest; one of whom is proposing to run another business within the shop to support the post office.
A village survey last year sought to find ways to support the shop and post office and a number of imaginative suggestions came from that. But it has become clear is that the post office is a vital part of the community.
The shop and post office together form a social hub. ‘It offers the opportunity for people to bump into other and have a chat, which is vital,’ said one woman from the floor.
Brian Barker commented: ‘It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m pleased to get these expressions of interest. The shop is a social space, but what happens to it is up to whoever takes over.’
Mike and Syb have offered to help anyone interested in taking on the post office and shop space.
[Box please, bold sans serif font] If you would like to find out more about taking over at Minard shop and post office, email email@example.com in strict confidence.
Brian Barker sets out the position to local residents. 06_a06MinardShop02