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New owner pledges community spirit at Stortford convenience store

Havers Lane Convenience Store, Bishops Stortford. Exterior. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (5817924)
Havers Lane Convenience Store, Bishops Stortford. Exterior. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (5817924)

The new owner of the Premier Havers Lane Convenience Store aims to restore its status as a community hub.

Andrea Aston said a deal to buy the Bishop’s Stortford store had been agreed and was expected to complete this week.

She said: “We knew straight away it could be potentially a great little shop.”

She and her partner, who live on the outskirts of Saffron Walden, have 45 years’ retail experience between them.

Their current business, a mini-supermarket in Colchester, is on the market and they have decided to concentrate on the Stortford store, which also includes a sub-post office counter.

Andrea, from Manchester, said: “We want to start downsizing and having a shop that’s more community focussed.”

Customers had become concerned in recent weeks as the shop began operating restricted hours and there was speculation it would shut.

However, Andrea said that the outlet would relaunch in the new year with new stock and fresh features including sandwiches and Costa hot drinks.

“We want to put it on the map as the place to go for local papers, for a coffee, for the post office and just for your everyday convenience,” she said.

In late 2012, Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation and the Havers Action Team campaigned against Tesco’s plans to convert the nearby Archers pub into a Tesco Express store, fearing the impact on businesses in the parade of shops at Havers – especially the convenience store and post office counter.

Andrea said that she was confident that adding community spirit would help her convenience store to combat that competition.

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