A SHOP owner is marking 25 years of being in charge of what has become a vital link for a Stalybridge community.
And Lesley Jackson believes Heyrod Village Store can continue to play a central role in it.
When she took the Wakefield Road premises on in November 1996, the idea was to be an archetypal shop, selling groceries and flowers.
However, growing up at Audenshaw’s Woodlands Restaurant soon came in handy – and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it became crucial.
“Originally I wanted to do the village shop with flowers,” admitted Lesley, who has daughter Lauren working with her.
“But I’d been in the catering industry for 10 years previously at the family restaurant.
“I retrained as a florist and tried to carry out my original idea but it was difficult to make a profit doing that, so I went back to doing food.”
And doing food is what Heyrod Village Store is perhaps most known for. As well as sandwiches and cakes, Lesley makes freezer ready meals and bakery and afternoon tea boxes that are proving popular.
She added: “Some of the dishes are ones we did at the restaurant, others are popular lines. There are quite a few top sellers.
“Now on a Friday afternoon and Saturday, we do a roast of the week.”
But she quipped: “It certainly does feel like 25 years. I was a size 10 and had lots of energy!”
Joking aside, what Lesley’s efforts have turned Heyrod Village Store into cannot be underplayed, especially over the last two years.
Still adhering to strict Covid-19 regulations, she knows the threat of the virus remains, as does the importance of the shop to locals.
She added: “We’ve extended the food to now doing grocery deliveries, as well as cakes, celebration cakes and buffet work.
“We’ve not extended the shop, it’s just been a case of making use of the space we have available but self-employment does take over your life. However, we love what we do.
“The last two years has been very challenging. We’ve probably worked the hardest we ever have but it has been good for the shop, a lot more people are shopping local.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of support and we try to keep it as Covid-19 safe as possible.
That’s maybe encouraged a few people who feel a bit more vulnerable.”
• Heyrod Village Store is at 318 Wakefield Road, Heyrod and is open Monday-Friday from
9am-5pm and Saturday from 9am-3pm. Call them on 0161 338 3506 or text 07850 769352.