Croxton Kerrial village trader’s secret of success

Les and karen Morrell at their shop in Croxton Kerrial
Les and karen Morrell at their shop in Croxton Kerrial
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A re-opened village store is thriving, with plans to sell alcohol in the next couple of months.

Les and Karen Morrell re-opened the former shop and post office in Croxton Kerrial last January 2.

It ceased trading five years ago and the building fell empty, needing some much-needed renovations, which the couple completed.

Les, 58, is a former farmer who worked on the Belvoir estate. Born in Woolsthorpe, he grew up in the area.

Karen, 52, is originally from Grantham, and still works at Asda as its community champion.

Les had lost his job, which led to the couple seeking their own business helped by Karen’s experience from Asda, which included work on the tills.

They wanted to gain the Post Office franchise too, but found out this would prevent them from offering ‘key’ electricity payment services, which some customers need. Instead, they are applying to sell alcohol, something which should be approved by Easter.

Looking back, the couple, who staff the store themselves, say it has been hard work, but they have broke even, something not expected in a shop’s first year.

Karen said: “Our best sellers are the obvious . . . milk and bread. We also have local produce such as Cherizena roast coffee from Wartnaby, Peacock Farm rapeseed oil at Muston, Vale Home made bakes from Bottesford, Brockleby Pies from Asfordby Hill and Bloomsbury Bread from Grantham.”

They also make their own sandwiches and sell tea, soup and coffee and can supply things to order not found in store.

To boost trade, the couple also operate a book exchange. There is also seating both inside and outside, which has proven popular. The shop’s own car park also helps trade, with the couple able to carry bags of shopping to cars for those who can’t.

Karen continued: “It is getting a bit more established. We want to be a big part of the community.”

Les is group scout leader of the 8th Grantham Harrowby Scout Group and Karen is Grantham Lions Club president.

Both are also optimistic about the future.They added ,smiling: “If the village grows, we will grow. Thirty-nine houses are to be built up the road. We will have the builders in for six months.”