Image of a signpost for a village shop

Village shops

Village shops were much more common in the past than they are today. Many village stores and Post Offices in the countryside have closed because people tend to do most of their shopping at supermarkets in towns. In the past, fewer people had cars and so they did most of their shopping locally.

Image of a man at the Post Office counter

Attracting customers

There are still many village shops around today though. Most of these are general stores selling a wide range of goods. Some have a Post Office counter and lots now attract customers by selling locally produced foods like meat, eggs, cheese, fruit, vegetables and cakes.

Image of the shopkeeper pouring tea for an old lady

Countryside community

Village shops are an important part of countryside communities. People such as the elderly, the less well-off and those without their own transport rely on the local store for their shopping. Village shops often have notice boards with community information so that local people know what is going on in the village.

Click on the facts

 Village shop facts

  • 1. Some shops are run by the owners, some are owned by a chain of stores
  • 2. Many shopkeepers work very long hours to make enough money to keep the shop open
  • 3. As well as food, most village shops also stock household goods and stationery (pens, paper, envelopes, etc.)
  • 4. Some village shops also sell local crafts such as pottery and gift items
  • 5. In recent years, village shops have started offering things like Internet access, a bakery or café, cash machines, cups of coffee and local deliveries of vegetables

 Competing with supermarkets

  • 1. 2000 independent local stores closed down in 2005
  • 2. 7000 small country Post Offices closed between 1984 and 2005
  • 3. On average, just 8p from each £1 spent in supermarkets goes to the farmer – this amount is much higher in village shops that sell locally produced food
  • 4. For many people, buying food from supermarkets rather than local shops wastes energy and is damaging to the environment
  • 5. Although many village shops have closed, there are more and more farm shops, specialising in fresh local food and organic produce

 Shopkeeper jobs

  • 1. Serving customers and wrapping items
  • 2. Taking money and giving change
  • 3. Delivery of goods to the elderly
  • 4. Checking the goods in the shop and ordering new stock
  • 5. Filling shelves and displays
  • 6. Counting takings (money from customers)
  • 7. Going to the bank regularly
  • 8. Keeping accounts (careful records of money coming in and going out)
  • 9. Setting prices and checking the prices in other shops
  • 10. Keeping the shop clean and tidy
  • 11. Promoting local events such as school plays