A village store celebrated its twentieth anniversary last week.
Roy and Lesley Holden, who run The Village Store in Harlaxton, invited some of their loyal customers to join them for drinks and nibbles on Friday, to mark the milestone occasion.
After moving to the village in 1997, the hardworking couple wanted to provide a place for local people to go to stock up on essentials without having to take a trip into town.
Roy said: “I had just come out of the security industry and Lesley was working for a law firm in London when we moved to Harlaxton. We had no intention of running a store but the shop was empty when we arrived and as we have worked in retail before, we decided to go for it.”
The couple were soon fully immersed in village life.
Roy added: “We have enjoyed excellent support from the village over the years and we have always tried to get involved in the community as much possible. We even helped to run a youth club for some years. We enjoy being able to give something back to the community as a thank you for all their support.”
But it has not been without its challenges.
When the former village post office closed 10 years ago, the couple opened a post office inside their store to make sure the residents didn’t go without.
Roy added: “It is never easy to run a post office or shop in a small village so we have tried to diversify where we can.”
The couple now run an outreach post office to provide post office facilities for people living in Eaton, Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir, Long Clawson and Stathern.
“We are out and about with our portable post office equipment up to four days a week,” said Roy. “We run them from village halls and even a pub.”
Despite now living in Caythorpe, the couple still have strong ties to the village.
Roy added: “We have got to know so many people in and around the village, which is why we wanted to share the anniversary with as many of them as possible. The Village Store is a huge part of our local community.”