Surrey-based Witley Village Stores, an independent store which suffered extensive damage in a fire in December 2020, reopened its doors to shoppers over the weekend.
The extent of the damage meant the store had to be closed immediately and substantial work over the past 13 months has seen the space undergo a complete refit to create a fresh, modern store for the community.
Store owner Kunjal Patel, known as Kay, said: “The majority of the interior was destroyed by the fire and all of our stock suffered severe smoke damage, meaning we were essentially starting from scratch.”
With a blank canvas and support from local businesses – DruNeev Ltd and Roman & Alex Ltd – Kay set out to bring back the store bigger and better than before, expanding the existing space by 450 sq. ft. to 1,650 sq. ft to offer shoppers an increased product range and a family-friendly layout with wheelchair access.
Retaining focus on luxury licensed, the store now features an enhanced range of fine wines and spirits, as well as the popular COOK range that provides shoppers with frozen ready meals, entertaining food, puddings, and more.
And a large chill area that houses 10 metres of latest technology chillers is also helping to maximise opportunities for this growing shopper mission.
The team at Witley Village Stores faced additional adversity due to the strict Covid-19 social distancing rules that were in place during the time of the fire and those that followed throughout 2021.
“This project was not possible without our prime supporters, our local community. They have shown such phenomenal positivity and drive over the last 13 months and I cannot thank them enough. They have truly been our strength and determination to power through,” said Kay.
The store’s Retail Development Manager, Richard Bishop added: “It’s been a long 13 months to get this store back and ready to trade and a fantastic team effort from everyone involved – both at Witley Village and Nisa.
“I’m delighted that the opening day went as smoothly as it did. The new space looks fresh and welcoming, and it is clear from the reaction of the shoppers that the store has been missed and is well-loved amongst the local community.”
The store officially reopened on Saturday 12th February 2022.