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Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Spar Threshfield Skipton, North Yorkshire
Published:  06 May, 2019

Location:

The pretty village of Threshield, in the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales

Forecourt

: This is a picture-postcard forecourt with a stone building, lots of trees and greenery. The small pole sign shows the Texaco star, the fuel prices and a Spar logo.

In front of the shop are logs and a bunker of AdBlue and de-icer, a few trolleys, baskets, flowers and a water bowl for dogs.

There was also a big poster for National Butcher's Week (which is run by one of Forecourt Trader's sister publications). There is also a free-to-use ATM but, at the time of my visit, a notice on it said that due to building works, it would not be working for a couple of weeks.

Shop:

It's a very attractive stone-built store, very much in keeping with the local area.

Inside, it's a typical convenience store but for the addition of a brilliant in-store butcher called H Weatherhead & Sons, with a serve-over counter as well as pre-packed meats in a separate chiller. Many of the items in the chiller were on a '3 for £10 deal'. A sign on the butcher's counter said they were trying to cut down on their use of plastic trays and were sourcing reusable trays. It also stated that customers could bring their own trays in. And a chalkboard said exactly where the meat was from.

Elsewhere in the store, there were some great products in the chiller including The Saucy Fish Co items and a £5 Meal Deal on pie and mash.

There was a good range of fruit and vegetables but there were some big gaps on the shelves. In addition, the price labels on the fresh produce were really big and green and quite off-putting.

At the time of my visit there was an Easter display stand, however the top two shelves where the hot cross buns should have been were empty.

The hot beverage shelves were a bit of a muddle and needed attention. By the confectionery shelves, there was a box each of Smarties, Cadbury Caramel and KitKats abandoned on the floor. If you wanted to fill out a National Lottery ticket, you couldn't get to the stand as it was blocked by boxes and a 'Grab a Bargain' trolley full of random items (dried onions and gluten-free rolls).

Part of the shop was barricaded off (by pallets of products) so you couldn't access the car care section or a lot of the alcohol. When I asked what was going on, I was told that the butcher's counter was being moved.

There's imagery around the shop depicting local landmarks such as the village pub, and interesting imagery behind the till area, showing the company's family history.

There is a customer toilet but I didn't attempt to get to it, as there were so many pallets of products in the way.

Prognosis:

The James Hall-owned Spar Threshfield forecourt and c-store opened in August 2017, after an absence of any store on the site for over two years. It met with overnight approval from the local community, especially from older members who struggle to get to the nearest town (nine miles away).

Diagnosis:

This is a lovely shop in a lovely setting and I must confess to have visited once before this occasion, when everything was accessible in-store and it was much tidier, well stocked and impressive.

Prescription:

People like to know what's going on in their local shop and, even if they're not local, they might wonder why some shelves were out of bounds. A notice explaining the changes in-store and apologising for any inconvenience goes a long way.

It was good that they were communicating the reason why the ATM was out of use, but it might have been good to point people, especially given that this is a tourist area, to the nearest one or to say whether they offered cashback inside.

And despite the disruption from the building work going on, a little shelf tidying and facing up always goes a long way.