Shopkeepers praise supermarket scheme
By Stuart YoungsRURAL shopkeepers in East Anglia have praised a supermarket scheme for providing them with a vital lifeline.It is five years since the SAVE (Sainsbury's Assisting Village Enterprise) scheme was launched with the aim of helping to keep rural stores afloat by allowing them to stock Sainsbury's products.
By Stuart Youngs
RURAL shopkeepers in East Anglia have praised a supermarket scheme for providing them with a vital lifeline.
It is five years since the SAVE (Sainsbury's Assisting Village Enterprise) scheme was launched with the aim of helping to keep rural stores afloat by allowing them to stock Sainsbury's products.
The scheme, set up in association with Village Retail Services Association, has generated more than £1.5million of extra sales since it was started and given a boost to stores across East Anglia.
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Sarah Barber, sub-postmistress at Copdock post office, has been involved with SAVE since she and her family opened their doors in January.
"The SAVE scheme is a big help for us. We are a very small business and so the fact that the scheme allows us to buy as little or as much of a product at a time as we need it is marvellous," she said.
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"I tend to go to Sainsbury's at least once a week to stock up our shelves. We mostly sell everyday convenience items, such as tea bags and sugar. and other things that people need.
"As many as 30 or 40 people a week come in and ask for products which we can then go and get for them and sell on at the type of price that one could expect from a local village shop."
The program was established by Sainsbury's and ViRSA (Village Retail Services Association) the latter of who is holding a double celebration this year.
Richard Fry, association trustee and, added: "We aim to help rural communities keep their village shops in the face of so many people looking to move to the countryside and set up businesses. This scheme helps the sustainability of village shops in rural areas."
SAVE has also received the endorsement of both the Post Office and ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).
Dr Wil Gibson, from Suffolk ACRE, said: "We support this scheme wholeheartedly so long as the shops involved can still maintain their variety.
"I believe that local shops should still be supporting local produce so that people do not travel miles down the road to buy vegetables grown hundreds of miles away.
"I would like to see a mix of local produce alongside the Sainsbury's products these shops bring in."