LAND ACQUISITION FINALLY COMPLETED FOR LOCAL RURAL RETAILER

Local company Mole Avon Trading has this week announced its acquisition of land from Tesco Stores Limited and Nymet Land Limited to build a new multi million pound Town & Country Store.

The land at Wellparks on Exeter Road, Crediton, has long been the preferred choice for Mole Avon and will enable the company to relocate from its smaller site on Mill Street in Crediton in the near future.

‘As a company owned by people from the local community, it is fantastic news that we have been able to remain in the town in which it was founded exactly 50 years ago. We have invested in our Okehampton and Axminster sites over the past three decades and it is great that we have managed to secure a site at Wellparks which will provide a solid platform for future growth. This development will safeguard existing jobs and create a number of new local employment opportunities. For the people of Crediton and the surrounding rural population, we will finally be able to increase the breadth and depth of our product offer to reflect the lessons learned from our larger stores in Okehampton and Axminster as well as looking into adding additional services and support for our core customer categories.’  said Mike Haines, Managing Director of Mole Avon.

Since its conditional contract agreement to acquire the site, Mole Avon has received overwhelming support for its move which included letters of positive support from over 900 people. The company has been on its Mill Street site since the early 1970’s and has been eager to move to a suitable local site that enables it to serve its traditional farmer base alongside the wider community. It will also be the first retail development on the Wellparks site since Tesco opened in 2009.

John Lee, chairman of the board of directors, Mole Avon Trading Ltd, said: “This will be our biggest investment in the business to-date. We are keen to ensure that the move works for both us and the town. We will now progress at the earliest opportunity the appointment of contractors to undertake the work of building the access roads and new store.”

Mr Lee commented on the poor condition of the current Mill Street building and said he hoped that the move would allow development of the current site and installing of pavements where there are none.  He added: "We intend to continue to welcome our existing customers but we also hope to attract a wider customer base, making it a country store not just for farmers but for everyone. The location of the store adjacent to the Tesco store couldn't be better and I think it is good for Crediton that we have been able to secure the future of Mole Avon in the town. We know many people come to Crediton just to shop at our store and we hope they and more people will continue to shop with Mole Avon."

When plans were announced for the new country store, Cllr Frank Letch, the Mayor of Crediton, said: “The development of the land at Wellparks will utilise land that has lain fallow for too long. I commend Mole Avon for bringing to Crediton a store that will offer further employment to the town and attract people into the town from a wide area.”

RURAL SUPPLIER OF CHOICE

Last year, at the end of a trading year that saw an increase in gross profit of nine per cent and profit before tax of more than 32 per cent, Mole Avon appointed its new managing director.

Mike Haines was appointed after an extensive national recruitment campaign and joined the company early in the New Year as Mole Avon's first externally appointed managing director for more than 40 years.

Mr Haines has significant experience in the retail sector and was previously chief operating officer for Hanergy Solar UK Ltd. He has always worked in front-line retail leadership positions and has experience in small growth operations, large scale multiples, garden centre brands and big shed retail businesses, with a unique mix of product areas including home, garden retail, renewable energy, fashion and furniture.

Mike said his vision for Mole Avon was to re-define the growth of the business making it the "rural supplier of choice". He said Mole Avon had a solid foundation and an exceptional level of expertise amongst its staff. He intended to expand the business in a range of areas, including on-line, while still accommodating the existing customer's requirements. The relationship with customers was one of the priorities, as well as customer service.

He called it a "transitional change for the business" adding that he "remained focused on providing continued added value for our core agricultural customers and, at the same time, looking to broaden our appeal and participation from a wider customer base."