I know that with storytelling, there is nothing like seeing and experiencing it for yourself. On just my second day at Plunkett, I ventured out of the office to pay a visit to two community-owned shops that are close by the office.
It was great to get a flavour of what the shops at Tackley and Islip offer to people in those villages, both in terms of the varied goods on sale, but also the warm welcome and space for a chat.
The shop at Tackley celebrates 20 years of trading in 2024 and continues to thrive! It is the heart of village life and is visited regularly by people from other local areas as well. The manager, Debbie, told me around 45 volunteers play an integral part of running the shop each week.
Debbie grew up in Tackley, left and returned, and has managed the shop for the past seven years. She said that Covid lockdown was an interesting challenge but one they rose to, supplying rations of flour and loo rolls to villagers, and being a lifeline to many people.
At Islip, I was impressed by the range of locally-produced food and drink available to buy – an important element of any community-owned business. (One of Plunkett’s seven areas of impact is to ‘stimulate the local economy through localised supply chains’.)
The flavour I experienced was literal too – I can testify that the peanut caramel brownie at Tackley was totally delicious – and great value!
I look forward to visiting more inspiring rural community-owned businesses in the months ahead. I can’t wait to try some great local ales on my next trip.