?Many retailers claim local sourcing is high on their agendas, but few can boast a raft of such products from within a 20-mile radius as Smile Stores' Bruton Country Market.
The forecourt store in Bruton, Somerset, opened last November and is the Bristol-based chain's second Country Market store.
The other store, in West Hill, Devon, opened last May, and both embrace their location in the farming communities by putting a greater focus on fresh and locally sourced products.
Its butcher's counter, for example, is run as a concession by Bruton-based supplier Gilcombe Farm. Dairy producer Wyke Farms, also based in the village, has its own space in the chiller and supplies the shop with cheese and butter.
Eggs come from Blackacre Farm Eggs, 10 miles away; fruit and vegetables are supplied by George Brown 20 miles away; cakes are sourced from Puddings and Pies 15 miles away; and its fresh cakes are supplied daily from Kenton Bakeries three-and-a-half miles away.
"We are lucky to have the space to sell local produce," says Charles Snowden, Smile Stores' area manager for Somerset. "We are in a rural, farming area and the farming community is always very loyal to local produce. If you live here, you want to be part of the community and part of what goes with this is buying local produce. "
Smile bought the former Alldays store from The Co-operative Group last October. The store did not fit the Co-op portfolio, says Snowden - it was quite run down. But after a three-week, six-figure refit the store was transformed.
As part of the Country Market format, Smile's usual blue fascia has been replaced with green and all staff wear green uniforms "to give it more of a market feel", says Snowden.
Customer reaction has been overwhelmingly positive since the refit, according to store manager Paul Brown, who has run forecourt stores for 25 years.
He says: "Sometimes it can take me as long as 40 minutes to walk into the centre of the village because people want to stop and talk to me about the store."
The store's nearest competitor is from its own ranks. Smile operates a smaller c-store in its usual format slightly further up the road but sales there have actually gone up since the Country Market fascia opened.
"The knock-on effect is that people come down here to see what we have and assume we have the same up the road," says Brown.
A Morrisons in Wincanton, five miles away, is its nearest competition among the multiples, but it is not seen as a big threat.
"Our store is ideal for a secondary shop," says Brown. "And we draw in people from such as Castle Cary and Shepton Mallet."
The forecourt location also drives sales, according to Snowden, but some people just stop by to fill up on petrol and others only visit for groceries.
In its first week, the store made £15,000-£16,000 and takings are now around the £20,000 mark. It takes a further £24,000 a week on fuel and £4,000-£5,000 a week on services such as the lottery and PayPoint.
Alcohol, with Smile's Discount Booze offer, has proven a key footfall driver. "We really punch above our weight in alcohol," says Snowden. "This is definitely a wine area. At first we thought beer and wine sales would be 50/50, but wine sales have exceeded our expectations."
The store is also popular with the local catering trade. Staff from the Chinese restaurant pop in for fruit and vegetables, and local pubs and the fish and chip shop take advantage of 5kg and 2kg Wyke Farms cheeses sold at wholesale prices.
This year, Brown plans to expand the range of products as the store gets more feedback from its customers. "In six months' time the range will have grown considerably," he declares confidently.n