Jill takes Staple Hill Stores on the road

ONE Staple Hill’s best-known shops is being relaunched as a mobile business.

Jill Barnes has run Staple Hill Stores on the High Street for 21 years but is due to close the hardware, gardening and pet supplies shop on the corner of the High Street and Page Road on September 30.

Jill decided not to renew the lease on the shop because she wants to work part-time as she approaches pension age. 

Her assistant is also retiring, so she could no longer keep the shop open every day.

But with many of her regular customers already having deliveries by van, and others keen to continue buying their DIY, plants, compost and pet food from her, Jill has come up with a new way of continuing the business.

Customers can pre-order by calling Jill on 0785 282 9388 and she will make deliveries in her van, two days per week.

If the mobile service takes off, Jill is considering applying for a licence to make regular stops on a round of the area, trading from her van, including on Saturdays for customers who work during the week.

Jill said: “I’ve got to have a job and this way I’m doing something I know, with people I know.

“I want to try it for a couple of months to see if it works – I won’t know until I try it.”

Jill took over Staple Hill Stores in 2002 after working in IT, and over the years the shop has branched out from its original pet supplies specialism to sell hardware, decorating, electrical, housewares and gardening supplies.

The huge variety of stock in its narrow aisles, outside displays and personal service have all helped earn the shop the nickname Arkwright’s, after the comedy Open All Hours.

Jill, who lives in Mangotsfield, is looking for ideas for a name for the new venture, and is offering a voucher to the person who comes up with the best one.