Hannah Slade, Company Director, Napton Village Stores

Napton Village Stores is a family-run village shop, offering homemade foods and an array of fresh produce from local suppliers.

We stopped by to chat to Company Director Hannah Slade as part of our #Warksmas2021 campaign.

What does your company do and what products do you sell?

We are a Village Store with a Post Office and a kitchen, which serves homemade food to take away or for catering. We offer a wide range of local foods, gifts, groceries, items from our bakery, off-licence, newsagent, and a whole lot more!  

How long have you been trading here and what makes this area special?

We took over a failing Village Store up for closure in January 2014, and have turned the business into what we have today, through hard work and passion for all things community and local.

Napton on the Hill is our home. We have lived in the village for 25 years and owned the shop for eight years. Napton is a very special community, with our store at the heart.

What are the reasons customers are attracted to you and keep coming back?

We work hard on our offer, presentation and communication with our existing customers and potential new ones. We are honest and consistent, which is why our customers are loyal and supportive. They value what we offer in a rural location.  

What is your most popular product/service you sell and why?

Our highest volume line in our business is hot sausage rolls! We have a very eclectic mix of customers, some with time to browse, those with a purpose and little time, and some who come in three times a day because they live alone in the village. It will also depend on other factors, we sell a lot of lottery tickets, bags sweets, pieces of homemade cake. We are a true Village Store with a whole lot more.

What new stock/service are you particularly excited about and why?

I’ve just met with a lady who hand paints souvenir gifts in the traditional canal Rose & Castle design. We will be stocking her gifts in the New Year. We constantly look for new, innovative or local products so our customers keep returning to see what we have.

How has your business recovered since pandemic restrictions were lifted?

Our business has changed and so have our customers. We used to have an inside seating area but we don’t now as we use the space to offer more local produce and instead have an outside seating area where people feel safe.

How important is the Christmas period for you?

December is busy but as we only trade for 24 days. It’s not the highest grossing month, but it’s the highest trade per day in the store and online through our website – 10% higher than July which is our busiest month of the year.

If you could pick one item from your shop to gift to somebody this Christmas, what would it be and why?

Silver Christmas tree earrings. They’re handmade locally and presented beautifully in a small glass bottle – something you wouldn’t buy for yourself. Oh and a bottle of Foxdenton Christmas Gin, who wouldn’t?!

Why is it important for people to shop local?

It’s the most important consideration that consumers need to consider, because if you don’t use it you will lose it. If people have to travel in a car for break and milk then your carbon footprint increases too.

What does Christmas mean to you and how will you celebrate it this year?

Christmas for us is all about family and time off. We celebrate with family and friends, share good food, good wine, and good times.

In 2022, what one thing will your business be looking to implement to reduce your carbon footprint?

We plan to invest in more economical fridges with doors on so they use less power. We already have a core of green ethics that we have built up over the last eight years. No plastic is fantastic. We have always sold 75% of our fresh produce loose in paper bags, our bakery bread all in paper bags, our takeaway food all in recyclable or compostable packaging. We reuse everything we can for our buffet foods, including no disposable trays and 20p off your hot drink if you bring your own cup.

Published: 7th December 2021