There has been a shop on the village green in Houghton since at least 1847, starting life as a baker’s shop and general store from the front room of the thatched cottage of the Millwright’s wife. George Clark decided that his wife Mary should supplement the family income by opening up the front room of their thatched cottage.
The building has adapted and grown over the years and in 2017 the last of the many owners retired and the shop was acquired by our community, with over 300 villagers contributing towards maintaining this vital village asset by buying shares.
Today we are staffed by a small team of employees led by Shop Manager, Ian Chapman. Some of the staff have been with us since David and Margaret’s tenure. The staff are supported by an army of volunteers without whom we could not operate including our Membership Administrator, Volunteer Co-ordinator and Bookkeeper.
Our Shop has a Management Committee, also volunteers, who lead the business strategically and operationally. The current Chair is Ann Utley. The Committee, all Members, are elected annually at the Annual Members Meeting in April.
Here for Everyday Staples
We are a Community Convenience store and our top sellers are Milk, Bread, and Newspapers, along with other everyday items such as cereals, frozen goods, eggs and tinned products. We work hard to keep the shop stocked with good value, everyday basics.
Value and Variety
We also closely monitor prices to ensure we’re competitive and offering great value, particularly at this time of high food inflation. You’d be surprised at how favourably we compare with the big supermarkets!
And working closely with our long term suppliers Booker Wholesale, we make sure we’re keeping up with convenience store trends whilst staying true to our loyal customer base and the needs of our changing customer base as the population of our village grows.
Supporting Local Producers
We work hard to stock produce from small and growing local producers such as Grasmere Farm in Lincolnshire, and Bluntisham family run Meadow Lodge Farm who supply us with natural fruit juices and seasonal fruits.
Throughout the year we hold tasting events when we have new products to share. These events also serve to remind our community what a wide range of products we stock!
They also give customers and visitors alike the opportunity to give us customer feedback.
Food and Drink on the Go
We sell sandwiches, snacks, soft drinks and dairy products all designed for the army of busy people who pop into Our Shop on their way to work and over the lunch break.
A firm favourite is our rijo coffee machine supplying the usual array of coffees for visitors on the go. We provide a cheaper and, some tell us, tastier brew than all the known high street coffee brands! We also chose rijo for their sustainability credentials.
Our Wine Club
Our shop Our wine is the shop’s very own wine appreciation club, dedicated to exploring the world of wine through the portfolio of our award-winning supplier, Hallgarten & Novum Wines.
Membership is free and entitles members to regular Wine of the Month discounts as well as entrance to very sociable evening wine tasting events. The club always hosts a table at the regular shop fayres and can put together wine packages for private events and the village Safari Suppers.