01 NOV 2016

A right royal turnout to welcome the Countess of Wessex

Benendens Village Store formally opened by The Countess of Wessex

After commencing trading in June 2015 Benenden's Village Store received its final finishing touches in readiness for the formal opening ceremony by the Countess of Wessex today.

The store was packed with local people proud of their achievement in taking the business into the collective ownership of 300 community shareholders.

Reports indicate that turnover is 50% up on the previous year and the business is in profit.

Present at the ceremony was local MP for Maidstone & The Weald Helen Grant who has followed the progress of the plan from the beginning.

She said 'Benendens is the beating heart of this quintessential and beautiful English Village. The store provides essential services including the post office and convenience store, but also goes much further, with a wonderful coffee shop and an excellent wine store too. I take my hat off to the community for devising such an excellent scheme and seeing it through to a successful conclusion.

After unveiling the commemorative plaque Countess of Wessex said 'this is the way to go, I think many more villages should have a community store' and duly commended all of the people involved in the operation.

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