Barr shop is community success

Barr Community Store.
Barr Community Store.

Barr Community Shop and Post Office is celebrating its first year and its been a real success story for the village.

There had previously been a privately owned village shop and post office in Barr.

However, because of the very isolated nature of the village, it always had to rely heavily on local, rather than passing trade to stay viable and as with so many other privately owned village shops, the owners decided that the effort was too great and put it on the market.

After six fruitless months with an estate agent, the owners were prepared to close the shop and use the premises for other purposes.

This prompted a group of villagers to get together and, with the help and advice of staff from Ailsa Horizons Regeneration and Enterprise Agency and funding from the Local Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund, to take over the shop premises and run it as a Community Shop and Post Office.

The project has been a huge success and, as well as keeping a grocery shop and post office in the village, it now boasts a small café area offering hot and cold food to sit in and eat or take away and has greatly expanded the range of merchandise on offer.

More than that, it has provided employment for two local people who run the shop/post office together with a willing band of local volunteers.

Ailsa Horizons’ Rural Regeneration and Social Enterprise Manager Julia Whitaker said: “Ailsa Horizons is delighted that Barr Shop has had a successful first years trading. 

“Horizons have developed expertise in guiding communities through their aspirations to develop community shops and are pleased to see how successful both the Barr and Kirkmichael Community Shops are becoming. 

“This expertise is also now underpinned by a partnership with the Plunkett Foundation and Horizons staff member Catriona Haston who is now one of eight mentors for community retailing activities across Scotland.

“This can only bode well for future communities led shops in South Ayrshire”.

And after its first 12 months Barr Community Shop and Post Office will be holding its first annual meeting on January 7th 2014.