The Development Bank of Wales has invested £200,000 to support the leasehold purchase and refurbishment of the Costcutter store in Knighton, Powys.
The purchase of the lease sees new owner John Ewens, 67, returning to his roots a decade after first managing the store.
The Knighton store is hugely valuable to the rural community of just over 3,000 people. It is a place where local customers can buy their fresh foods and other household goods without travelling to the nearest supermarket, 16 miles away.
John believes the store will help retain and bring new people to the high street: “We help feed other stores and Knighton as a whole. It’s more important than ever to keep our market town alive and thriving. Costcutter is the largest business on the high street here and draws lots of customers into the town where they can visit other smaller businesses.
“This funding allows my plans to become a reality; the purchase of the store, a redecoration of the exterior, updating the branding, replace the dated equipment and undergo a full refit. Customers expect an experience when they go into a shop and it’s important to stay on par with the supermarkets.”
Convenience stores in Wales provide almost 23,000 jobs to local people. This investment helps safeguard 15 members of staff.
Chris Hayward, Investment Executive for the Development Bank of Wales said: “We invested in the business because we liked John’s rationale for the refurbishment, to draw more shoppers to the high street, and we wanted to be a part of that. He has a wealth of experience owning and managing stores of this type and is familiar with the Knighton branch having managed the store in the late 2000s. I’m looking forward to seeing how the store develops and helps Knighton thrive.”
John was introduced to the Development Bank by Christie Finance.
John said: “Both the Development Bank and Christie Finance were very easy to work with and the smooth process allowed us to begin the refit immediately. They looked at my plans in a different way and saw the bigger picture.”
Lawrence Roberts, Finance Consultant at Christie Finance said: “Upon meeting John, it was evident that he had both the experience and passion to re-enter the market, especially with the Knighton store with which he has a lot of history. At Christie Finance, we pride ourselves on delivering the best and most competitive funding for our clients.
“Initially we match the client with a lender or bank who can, firstly, grant the funding required and secondly, be as passionate as the client about the purchase. It was a pleasure working with John and Chris throughout this purchase..”
The funding came from the Wales Business Fund which was set up to support businesses with fewer than 250 employees, based in Wales and those willing to move here.