The 12,000 sq ft store looks like a cross between an alpine ski lodge and modern football stadium and stands on the site of what was once a playing field. But it has been an uphill fight for Booths to overcome local objections to development on the land. Store manager Atholl Robertson says: "It has taken us 12 years to get into Settle. The development has been quite controversial." The problems were finally resolved and the sale of the land to Booths allowed the council to build a new school next door, while the company has re-sited a playground and even built a millennium garden for the community. However, the victory has come at a price, since the company has had a number of restrictive trading conditions imposed by the local authority. As a result the store has been prevented from selling magazines, newspapers and hot food and is not allowed to open a tea shop or install an instore bakery. Robertson says: "The restrictions were imposed by the council to protect other businesses in the town. Our customers understand why we don't sell certain things and perhaps we will appeal in a few years, but for the time being we must live with it." However, the restrictions have led the company to explore new territory in a bid to offer as much as possible to its customers and this new thinking has produced the first salad bar in a Booths store. "We had to look at ideas that would make the store different," says Robertson, "so we decided to try a salad bar and it's been a big success." He says if the bar continues to prove popular, the format could be rolled out to other stores in the chain. The store, which opened at the end of November, is the company's twenty-sixth store and, in spite of its slightly exotic appearance, has been designed in keeping with its surroundings with a traditional Yorkshire stone front and a natural slate roof. The roof is curved, which helps provide a light and airy shopping experience for customers. A simple, uncluttered layout adds to the atmosphere and modern lighting lines the top of the fixtures. The meat, deli and wet fish counters have all been placed away from the back wall and into the store in a style which Robertson describes as more continental. Working areas sited behind the counters allow customers to see the staff at work. Robertson is especially proud of the store's range of cheeses and he points out that Booths won the title of Multiple Cheese Retailer of the Year in the Retail Cheese Awards 2001, which are sponsored by Dairy Crest and The Grocer. "We stock a range of quality products and we work with a lot of smaller suppliers and I think that's something that makes us a little different from everyone else," Robertson says. The wine and beer sector, for which the company has also won awards, has undergone some changes with chrome and wood fixtures housing a wide range of wines and spirits. The store employs 97 staff and, like all Booths stores, holds the prestigious Investors in People award. "We want to stand out in customer service by having first class assistants and we invest a lot in the people that work for us," he adds. Robertson says the first few months of trading have proved a big success with customers and thinks that his shop will soon be a destination store for the area, competing with rival retailers, Tesco and Morrisons, which are based in nearby Skipton. "We have had an excellent start to the business and our customers have all been very positive," he says. {{SPOTLIGHT }}