It’s almost a year since husband and wife Deepak and Daksha Chandarana rallied to the aid of the Bedfordshire village of Clophill, saving the local Post Office from threatened closure.
They opted to incorporate the Post Office counter into their c-store and have not looked back.
The decision coincided with closing their old store in the high street and moving to the village green. “We moved from a very dingy grade two listed building,” says Deepak. “The restrictions on grade two listed properties meant we would be unable to do improvements or comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 2005.”
The project cost £350,000, only £20,000 of which was made up of grants of £10,000 each from the Countryside Agency and the Post Office DDA office. It involved the complete
renovation of a bungalow.
Now the Chandaranas run the only shop in the community. Four others have closed, while theirs goes from strength to strength. “After we increased the range of the old premises, we were making about £4,500 per week. Now we’re making an average of £10,000 and every month is stronger than the last,” says Deepak.
Thanks to the changes implemented to comply with the Disability Act, the store is particularly popular with customers from the home for the elderly at Beverley Court, Clophill. “We have a ramp starting from the food section to the automatic door, plus hand rails outside,” says Deepak. “We also have to keep aisles clear of clutter for more than one metre. And all our counters and fixtures are at a lower level to make them user-friendly.”
He says these innovations have pleased