At the June Hollingbourne Parish Council Meeting, Christopher Rudgard, the proprietor of the last shop in Hollingbourne for fifteen years advised the Meeting that he intended to retire at the age of 79 in January 2020. He has asked that the following statement be published on the Hollingbourne Village website. Please Read More for further information.
It is with considerable regret that, after 16 years, I will stop running the shop in the New Year. I know I threatened to do this a couple of years ago but, having failed to find anyone to take over, I continued: this time I really mean it.
I am finding it too much physically (and financially) to continue. I will (hopefully) celebrate my 79th birthday in November and still have things on my ‘bucket list’ (although I have crossed off “surfing the big wave in Hawaii”!).
For the last three or four years the shop has lost money (over £5k ). This is due to declining turnover and customers as the demographics of the village change, newspaper readership declines, less people smoke and staff costs have risen as I spend less time in the shop.
The shop with all stock, fixtures and fittings etc is available at no charge to anyone suitable who would like to take it on. The landlord (Paul Teague) has confirmed that he will continue to not charge any rent (subject to giving his approval of the new owner).
I informed the Parish Council at their meeting on 8th June of my intentions. After some discussion it was agreed that they would look seriously into the possibility of a ‘community shop’. Maria Domican, attending the meeting as a member of the public, offered to provide her proactive support. She will shortly be issuing a questionnaire to all houses in the village asking for input from the village about a ‘community shop’.
Maria can contacted by email email@example.com or you can leave your details at the shop and she will contact you.
My sincere thanks to all who have used the shop over the years. Please keep using it. I will keep you advised of developments and/or the date of closure.
Christopher Rudgard June 2019
Maria Domican will be shortly distributing a questionnaire to all residents in which they will be asked what they would like from a Community Shop. The Hollingbourne Community Survey questionnaire can be downloaded at Hollingbourne-Community-Survey.pdf (31 downloads) . Alternatively the questionnaire can be completed online at www.hollingbournevillageshop.com
If the shop shuts for good, then the village will not only lose the shop which is a lifeline to many residents but also a social hub. The nearest alternative shops and Post Office will be at least three miles away in Harrietsham and Bearsted.
Pictured below is Christopher Rudgard with Maria Domican who lives in Eyhorne Street.