A CONVENIENCE store in Kendal has urged customers to consider shopping more locally in the face of rising business costs and 'crippling' energy bills.

Castle Stores, on the Castle Estate in the town, is well-frequented by locals as well as customers from all over Kendal due to the offering of its Evri parcel service.

Maddy Evans, who owns the store with her partner Steve Jones, has asked people that use the shop to consider buying one or two items that they may normally buy from a supermarket, in order for local shops such as theirs to continue to offer a vital service to the community.

Maddy posted an appeal on the shop's Facebook page that she said has been very well-received by customers.

She said: "We realise that everybody is suffering, and in particular small businesses.

"Our rise in energy costs has been crippling.

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"Our energy contract came to an end in December and subsequently our monthly electric bill has jumped from £670 per month to £2,900 - that’s a whopping increase of over 425 per cent.

"We are yet to receive the Energy Rebate promised to businesses’ to help with our electricity costs, and it has just been announced that the government help will be greatly reduced in April, although it is not yet clear by how much. 

"We can’t just increase prices accordingly as we already can't compete against the huge buying power of supermarkets as it is."

Maddy said that while their Evri service attracts people to the shop from outside the immediate vicinity, it does not necessarily translate into extra revenue.

She said: "We ask that people consider, when using the Evri service, or buying things like cigarettes, lottery tickets, or top-ups, that bring us practically no revenue, to consider making a small extra purchase.

"This will help a little towards our ever-increasing costs including the wages of the extra staff needed to continue to provide the Evri service.

"We also employ around 20 staff, all of whom live locally.

"We make freshly-made sandwiches on-site including hot bacon and sausage buns.

"Grab some local free-range eggs, a Pennington's freshly ground takeaway coffee, a Higginson's Pie, Romneys Biscuits, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding or a tub of English Lakes Ice-cream.

"We also stock a range of products from other local suppliers and when you buy one of their products from us, you are also helping their business get through these difficult times.

"We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their continued support and look forward to providing our community with our friendly, personal service well in to the future."