Convenience stores, pharmacies and post offices are the services that have the most positive impact in local communities, according to a new report.
The 2021 Community Barometer, published by the Association of Convenience Stores, looks at how people feel about the services that are available to them locally, and the impact that they have on key measures like reducing loneliness, how positive an impact they have on the community and how essential they are.
People could choose from 16 services including restaurants, pubs/bars, pharmacies, specialist food shops, coffee shops, non-food stores and others. When asked which ones were must-haves, pharmacies came out on top, followed by convenience stores, Post Offices, banks and petrol stations.
ACS boss James Lowman was reassured but not surprised by the results: “Throughout the pandemic, and even now with more people working from home on a long-term basis, many have rediscovered their local shops and realised the huge breadth of products and services that they offer, as well as their invaluable contribution to the wider local community.”
Lowman said the report’s findings were “a testament to the work that convenience store retailers and their colleagues have put in over the last year to keep their communities going”.
This year, for the first time, the Community Barometer looked at the effect of services on house prices. When it came to having the biggest impact on pushing the value of houses up, the top five services were: Post Offices, pharmacies, specialist food shops, coffee shops and c-stores.
Amanda Jones, Post Office Retail and Franchise Network Director, welcomed the findings: “Many people have relied on their local convenience store for food shopping or home deliveries, as well as, the Post Office services that can be found in thousands of convenience stores across the country.
“So many people have been impacted by the pandemic and we’re aware of the important role Post Offices play in helping to combat loneliness in particular.”
Lowman concluded: “Many of the positively viewed services in this report, such as Post Offices, coffee shops and pharmacies, are featured within modern convenience stores, especially in rural and isolated areas where there’s only one place for people to go to get their essentials locally. In other locations, our members are part of a mix of businesses all tailoring their offer to local customers and working together to help maintain vibrant and safe local communities.”