Monday, 3 October 2016

All Change at Natland’s Village Shop

After 39 years service to Natland, Graham Needham is retiring and handing over the Village Shop and Post Office to James Harkness.
In fact, Graham has already moved out domestically but is helping in the shop for the moment whilst James obtains his Post Office authorisation.
Mavis, Graham’s long time helper in the shop, is also retiring.
Graham recalls when he was at the same stage as James, excited by similar challenges of developing the business.  However, time has moved on and he is delighted to have found in James a much younger person to take on the role, which also includes becoming a Trustee of the Village Hall.
Graham thanks all those customers who have supported him over the years.  He has many happy memories, especially of the Natland characters whom he used to serve, but is already relishing not getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning to sort out the paper rounds!  He and Liz are now settling into their new home in the village but they hope before too long to be able to travel around Europe in their motor-home.
Meanwhile, James will be bringing his personality and ideas to the business.  Originally from Poulton-le-Fylde, James has spent the last five years developing a computer business in London.
He has moved in together with his parents, Mike and Heather, plus their dog Smudge.  Mike and Heather both work but you may well see them helping in the shop from time to time.
James and his family have spent a lot of time in the Lake District and have friends around Kendal and Coniston.  They had been looking for a property in the Natland area for a while and jumped at the chance to purchase the Village Shop and Post Office.  Running this type of business has been something James has dreamt about for some time.
He will be assisted by Christine whom you may remember as the cheerful lady who has stood in for Graham on several occasions.
The first change that many will have noticed is the cessation of paper deliveries.  Whilst he realises that this service was valued, James is aware that it was fraught with problems and feels that he can better serve the community in other ways.  Papers, of course, are still on sale at the shop, which is opening earlier so that those who want to collect on their way to work can do so.
James has ambitious plans to develop the business, the first being to investigate the practicality of opening up the room, with its magnificent old fireplace, to the right of the entrance to provide a tea room - one of his hobbies is baking.
He is also contemplating expanding the range of provisions by offering a selection of specialist beers and wines.
James is realistic and understands that for the Village Shop and Post Office to thrive, it has to be offering Natlanders a service that is recognised as being a focal point for the community and that is what he is determined to achieve.
Natland News thanks Graham and Mavis for their long and vital service to the village and wishes James every success in taking over the Village Shop and Post Office.  We are looking forward to the flapjacks already!
Don Shore.