People power looks set to save business

A GROUP of residents in a village will be demonstrating the power of community spirit when they band together in an attempt to save a small business from closure.

A GROUP of residents in a village will be demonstrating the power of community spirit when they band together in an attempt to save a small business from closure.

In a true Changing Rooms-style, residents will be wielding paintbrushes and tools to transform the Country Garden store in Botesdale, near Bury St Edmunds, into an up-market deli.

The shop's owner, Jill Masterton, feared she might have to close when the expansion of a nearby supermarket threatened to put her out of business.

But with the help of a willing group of residents, Miss Masterton is fighting back against the competition.


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"The shop only sells a small selection of groceries at the moment and the supermarket has really hit me to an unsustainable point," she said.

"After some research, I discovered there was a market for a deli that provides really good, locally made products and I decided that this was the way forward for the shop."

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Miss Masterton, 45, will be closing her shop on Saturday and will be working round the clock with her friends to complete the makeover, which will include a complete redesign of the interior, redecoration, and new lighting and fittings.

She plans to stock all the essentials that her regular customers need, as well as offering a more sophisticated range of ready meals, cheeses, meat, olives, pate, fresh soups, sauces and locally produced wine to entice new customers to her shop.

"Although I have only been here for 18 months the shop has actually been in the village for more then 50 years, and it would have been such a shame to close it down," said Miss Masterton.

"All the small business are struggling and we need to rely on each other to keep going.

"I am so grateful to everyone who has agreed to help me and it just goes to prove what a community can achieve."

The pledge to save the Country Garden store from closure mirrors a similar example of community spirit put into action by residents in Monks Eleigh, near Sudbury, who set up their own village shop in a bid to save the village from losing all of its local amenities.

Miss Masterton will re-open her store on Thursday March 18.

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