Neary’s General Store, and the Neary family, have been serving their local community in the picturesque village of Helmshore in Lancashire for 44 years. Now James and his sister Patricia have been awarded the prestigious national CollectPlus ‘Store of the Quarter’ award. This recognises their achievement as the best store in the CollectPlus network, scoring an impressive 4.9 out of 5 stars between October and December 2015.
Read on to find out what makes their store so special…
CollectPlus CEO Neil Ashworth [centre] presenting brother and sister, James and Patricia Neary, with the CollectPlus ‘Store of the Quarter’ award.
Neary’s General Store is a traditional, family-run business first started by Mrs Neary and her son John over four decades ago, and now jointly managed by siblings James and Patricia Neary.
In the heart of the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire, the store serves the local community with a huge range of goods and services including, of course, CollectPlus. James and Patricia, along with their hardworking staff, have continued to attract customers and keep the business running smoothly, leading to their recognition by CollectPlus as their quarterly UK ‘Store of the Quarter’.
We caught up with James Neary to find out more about how the family have made the store into such a success, and to ask how it feels to win the CollectPlus ‘Store of the Quarter’ award…
Q. Tell us a bit about Neary’s General Store, and your experience of managing this successful business.
A. Well the store has been in the family for 44 years. It was started by my mother and my brother John, and is now run by my sister Patricia and myself. It’s a traditional ‘general’ store, offering everything from groceries to baked goods, and off-licence products to greetings cards. I first started helping out at the store when I was 11 years old, and my involvement has really grown from there.
We’re lucky to be in a great location, in the lovely village of Helmshore with very picturesque surroundings, right in the heart of the Rossendale Valley. The store has grown with the town, as there have been a lot of new homes built here in the last 40 years, as well as some big supermarkets, so we’ve adapted over the years to provide the best service for the local community and we’re always busy!
Our customers are all friends and neighbours – my sister and I live just at the back of the store in houses opposite each other, so we feel that we’re really part of the local community.
Q. How has the CollectPlus service helped you to grow your business?
A. It’s definitely brought in more new customers, so I’d have to say that we’re really impressed with it. I’d estimate that 65-70% of customers who come in to use the CollectPlus service buy other things when they come in, so it’s been good for the business as a whole.
We’re open all hours – from 7.30am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 8pm on Sundays – so it’s convenient for our customers and the local community to have the service here too. As a business we’re all about convenience and, for us, offering the CollectPlus service ties in well with that.
Q. There are over 5,800 newsagents, convenience stores and petrol stations in the CollectPlus network, so how does it feel to have been named the UK’s best CollectPlus store?
A. We were gobsmacked, its fantastic! We’re a decent sized store, but as we’re fully independent we never expected to win, so we’re very proud. I don’t think that we necessarily offer anything extra-special, we simply provide a good service in a clean and attractive space, and people keep coming.
We know the majority of our customers by names and faces, and it’s really a store for our friends and neighbours. We’ve had to be resilient and adaptable over the years, but it’s our customers that have kept it all going so it’s just lovely to get some unexpected recognition!
Q. What are you plans for the future?
A. Just to keep going as we have been! It’s important to embrace change as it comes, and to be flexible, so we’re just excited to carry on serving our customers and see what the future brings.
February 16th 2016 - by @CollectPlus