Devon

Ivybridge greengrocer fears for the future

  • 17 January 2011
  • From the section Devon
Image caption Jan Taylor has turned her greengrocers around and now faces competition from Tesco

A Tesco Express store has opened in the Devon village of Ivybridge, causing concern for a local shopkeeper.

Jan Taylor is busy sorting out produce in her greengrocer shop in Ivybridge on the southern foothills of Dartmoor.

She bought the shop in Fore Street, the main shopping drag, in 2006.

Ms Taylor, 57, said: "When I took it over the shop was going downhill.

"We have picked it up and we are surviving.

"I just hope we're still here next summer."

She fears that pressure on her business will come from the Tesco Express store which opened in the town on 10 December.

There has been a Tesco superstore about two miles away at Lee Mill for about 30 years and there is a Somerfield supermarket and two convenience stores in the town.

She said the short-term effect was hard to quantify, with the opening of Tesco Express coinciding with increased trade in the run-up to Christmas.

But she and other shopkeepers in the town, which prides itself on its independent shops, are monitoring the levels of trade carefully.

"We had got used to Tesco at Lee Mill and coping with that," she said.

"We are going to lose to Tesco Express, but we just hope not too much."

Image caption Tesco said Ivybridge shops could capitalise on extra shoppers attracted by the new store

The local chamber of commerce said there would be "some casualties" after the Tesco Express opened, but added that it would also bring more people into the town.

Ms Taylor is doubtful, pointing out that Tesco Express is set back from the main shopping street.

"It's not in the main town, so once they have been there where are they going to go?

"They are going to go home.

"They have also limited parking to 45 minutes, which means no time for anything apart from shopping and going again."

Ms Taylor is hoping that her customers will be attracted by the environmental credentials of her shop.

She said at least 70% of her vegetables were locally produced.

"A couple of ladies grow vegetables for me in their gardens," she said.

"People walk it to the shop, it's that close.

"We are cutting out all the food miles."

Tesco says that its experience in other towns has shown that Tesco Express stores attract more shoppers into town centres.

It says they act as "anchors" for local trade and it is up to local shops to take advantage.

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