New Bryher Store Opens To Customers

After a winter of having to plan ahead and carry shopping from St Mary’s or Tresco, Bryher’s new community shop and post office opens its doors today.

It’ll be a lifeline for islanders, self-catering visitors and campers.

Shop owner Zoe Dan says it seems ‘a bit surreal’ that the shop is finally opening – she first put in plans for the shop in 2009 and it’s taken a while to get to this point.

She’s had a lot of help from her sister, who has run Tresco Stores, particularly in finding suppliers who are happy to take small orders.

She added that most suppliers in southwest are accustomed to dealing with small shops so there’s no need to make large orders although, because newspaper distributors require a big deposit, she hasn’t been able to set up a contract.

The project has been tailor-made for the community with islander surveys sent out to help decide stock, much of it local, including eggs from Mike and Sue Pender, locally grown veg and St Agnes cream and milk. Zoe also went to visit a community shop in Devon to see how they did things there, and she’ll continue to take requests from customers for new products.

Zoe used to work at the campsite, so she knows what people staying in tents need – she has supplies of blankets, which she says are popular especially with out-of-season campers when it’s not so warm.

She says it’s been hectic in the last few weeks before the opening but most things are in place, although she admitted there are one or two items she hasn’t got for opening – she would like a bakery section in the future.

It will mean a new way of life for Zoe as she begins a 7-days-a-week commitment to provide shopping facilities.

The project has received funding from the Local Action Group and the backing of the Duchy of Cornwall.

The previous shop, the Post Office, closed it’s doors last autumn when owner June Bushell decided to retire and Zoe says June has offered invaluable advice on what to do.

June was asked to cut the opening ribbon last night.