Independent Sheringham Store Takes on
Staff and customers at Budgens of Sheringham will be celebrating National
Independent's Week in style, as the event coincides with a relaunch following £100,000
worth of improvements.
The store was taken over a year ago by business partners Paul Burnell and Jinx Hundal.
And, in spite of the threat of a Tesco supermarket looming over the town, the pair were
determined to it into a thriving business set firmly at the heart of the community.
lot of people have seen what Tesco has done to other towns in terms of small businesses
closing down, but we were confident that wouldn't affect us," Mr Hundal said.
"I think there will always be a need for small, town centre stores as what we offer
is that local touch, which is something you don't get at big supermarkets. By getting the
basics right, such as focussing on friendly, personal service and locally-sourced
products, I think we can keep, and build on, the loyal customer base we already
have." Dublin-born Mr Burnell, who has a degree in business studies, trained as
an accountant before joining Budgens' Dublin-based parent company Musgrave, where he
developed an interest in independent trading. "I just think it is a more
sustainable model of retailing as if you support the local economy, then the money stays
in the area," he said.
Mr Hundal, who studied business management at Cardiff University before joining a graduate
programme run by Marks and Spencer, met Mr Burnell after he joined Musgrave as an
The pair worked on projects together all over Ireland and, when Musgrave launched a
franchise scheme in 2004, they decided to take on the Sheringham store.
"We visited a number of sites but saw huge potential at Sheringham and were attracted
to the vibrancy and uniqueness of the town, "Mr Hundal said.
After talking to staff and customers, the pair came up with a strategy for improving the
"We realised that the main thing people wanted was a cheaper, more efficient
supermarket so we have lowered prices and spent money on improving the shopping
environment and speeding up service," Mr Burnell explained.
As well as offering reduced prices on a range of products including bread and milk, the
store now stocks newspapers and magazines, has a hot food counter serving freshly-made
sandwiches, pies and pasties, and sells locally-sourced produce ranging from Norfolk Tawny
and Binham Blue cheeses, to bread baked by Linzers of Norwich.
"It is great to be able to support local suppliers, especially when you take into
account the concern about of food miles. The environment is a huge issue and, as part of
the community, we want to be socially responsible."
The business partners, who last month took over a second Budgens store at Cromer, insist
that, even if a Tesco does open at Sheringham, they are here to stay.
"We think we can prove that we can work for the town and run alongside other
businesses. We are here for the long term and we wouldn't have invested such a large
amount of money if we didn't think there was a future for retailing in Sheringham,"
Mr Burnell said.
National Independents' Week runs from June 4 - 10. Budgens of Sheringham will be
celebrating by running in-store events including a colouring competition for local
children. The store will be officially re-opened on Monday by a local celebrity, with
attractions including a magician, food and wine tasting, and children's activities. For
more information, phone 01263 822126.