In the process of buying a simple loaf of bread, I was delighted to witness a magnificent example of entrepreneurial doggedness, triumphing over a temporary defeat and disaster.
Just before 4am on Monday 27 October 2014, thieves who had previously stolen a JCB digger, ploughed into a a local Budgens mini-supermarket and stole the cash machine, leaving a literal hole in the wall.
As you can see from the accompanying photograph, the building was left structurally unsound, and the police had to guard against looting and trespassing. This was clearly an unmitigated disaster for the shop owner, and it was easy to assume the store would close; if not for good, then at least until it was rebuilt and beautified again. But this is where the shop's owner's entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and had other ideas. The shop's owner decided this was not how the story was going to end.
The shop is already open and trading, despite having wooden boarding where the windows used to be, and closed shutters ensuring ongoing security. The shop looks battered, beaten and scarred, but it is refusing to lay down and die.
This branch of Budgens services a legion of devoted local people, who are now being enticed and rewarded for their loyalty with 50p loaves of bread, amongst a great many other tempting bargains. The staff remain friendly and resolute, determined in their efforts to grow a local family owned business...and they're winning. It seems the loyal community don't care about the unattractive temporary boarding, they just want their local convenience store to be fully stocked and functional; for their convenience funnily enough.
Therein lies a lesson, or two. Life happens. Oftentimes life will leave you feeling battered, beaten and scarred, but it's always your decision to lay down and quit. Or not. So long as you are still in the game and competing, you have an opportunity to win and prevail. If this branch of Budgens had shut up shop, it was guaranteed they would sell zero, zip, nada. But as long as they stay open, they have a chance and will remain available to opportunity.
The second lesson to be gleaned from Budgens' example is this: perfect perfection is overrated and unnecessary for success. How much money and oportunity would Budgens have lost by remaining closed until they were rebuilt and beautifed? By opening their boarded up doors, their income is 100% more than it would otherwise have been. Whatever income they generate contributes towards their overheads and helps keep their aspirations alive. A battered, beaten and scarred open shop will always outsell one that is closed whilst awaiting renovation.
One last thought on my battered local Budgens. Never - ever - bet against the love and support the British people are prepared to bestow upon an underdog. The British will always rally behind those who refuse to kneel down to defeat or seemingly unassailable odds. It is built into our national identity to absorb the blows that life dispenses, and to keep moving forwards - because that is how winning is done!