There's nothing like competition to get trade moving. I mentioned here that two virtually identical shops were now trading next to one another, pictured, just opposite Rose Hill train station in Marple. A Spar, which has been here a while, and a Premier convenience store which opened in August.
On the face of it the opening of such direct competition couldn't have come at a worse time for the family that opened the Spar. For the last 6 months Marple has been locked down in the evenings for essential work on the main road in and out, thus cutting off passing trade. A bigger store, offering half price newspapers, free energy drinks and incredible discounts on milk and bread looks formidable.
We've already established that this is not a planning issue, it's a free market one. The winner takes all and the fight is very much on.
Well, I've never seen Spar the shop as busy as it is now. There seems to be a groundswell of loyalty, with punters declaring loudly and proudly they are boycotting the Raja Brothers store. The Spar owners also go out of their way to thank people for their custom, even standing outside having a cigarette, making a few punters unlikely to then swerve into the competition.
The Spar have also got the support of a Facebook page, here, and the balance of the positive sentiment on the Marple website here.
I'm less impressed with the tactics of the Premier store. The tacky dayglo handwritten posters offer schoolkids a "free energy drink" with lunch and sweets. That's not right. In fact it's horribly wrong on every level. They even make a claim that they're doing their half price paper offer for "customers" and "not profit".
There's a third effect that this stand off is having. More than a few people I know have avoided both.