Milnthorpe store forges close links with the community

The Westmorland Gazette: Store manager John Reynolds Store manager John Reynolds

In its first year Booths in Milnthorpe has donated in excess of £10,000 to more than 100 local charities. As staff celebrated the store’s first anniversary, STEPHANIE MANLEY spoke to some of those who have benefitted from the goodwill.

Just over 12 months ago the 29th supermarket in the Booths chain opened in Milnthorpe – the seventh to grace Cumbria.

And store manager John Reynolds has worked hard to keep up the firm’s reputation for having close relationships with communities, making strong links within the town and supporting events, charities and groups.

He said: “Market towns have had a difficult time over the last 20 to 30 years and I think that what a supermarket like Booths can do is give a reason for people to come and visit those places. Because of that I think it is really important that we become a central part of the community.”

Pupils from Milnthorpe Primary School joined forces with the new shop right from the start. They have worked together in many ways, including designing Bags for Life, using donated ingredients to bake cakes for Red Nose Day – which they sold in Booths to raise £800 – and most recently offering bag packing assistance for Children in Need.

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Teacher Sarabeth Pearce said: “Ever since a phone call came from an excited Edwin Booth in response to our Year 6 ideas for a maths challenge, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with the Booths team - from the first visit by Graham Booth and Pam Houghton to see the children in school, through to the construction company coming to do a talk on the process of building and site safety.

“It was followed by the children’s visit to the site, laying bricks and looking at layouts, the pre-opening where we stocked shelves and operated tills and the hugely successful Red Nose Day Cake Bake.

“The staff at Booths have shown a generosity of spirit.”

The 80-seat Heron Theatre at Beetham has also benefitted from the additional store, receiving £1,000 to fund a much-needed refurbishment to its interior and stage flats.

Funding officer for the charity Ann Beeby said: “The Heron has enjoyed building a relationship with Booths at Milnthorpe over the last 12 months.

“The store has provided a dedicated notice board for our publicity.”

A further £500 donation to Milnthorpe Junior Football Club saw the team’s existing kit replaced by up-to-date coaching aids.

Andrew Douthwaite, Chairman of Milnthorpe Junior Football Club, said; “ We are extremely grateful to Booths for their support.”

Mr Reynolds, who has worked for the company for 15 years, added: “We are overwhelmed by the welcome and level of support we have received from Milnthorpe, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better first year for the store.”

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