The Langport Stores, which dates back to 1898, has recently reconfigured the shop floor and expanded its product offering to attract new customers.

John and Jason Rice-Lewis took over the store in Langport, Somerset, in 2013, after moving from London for a ‘quieter life in the country … so, turns out running a store in a High Street is not actually that quiet!’ – and now, while still predominantly a food store, it is home to a wider range of goodies including household and kitchen everyday essentials and gifts.

So, why the change now? “We’ve always been very busy over the years, but with the cost of living crisis at the moment, this has declined in recent months,” explains co-owner John. Added to this, we also recently lost the local hardware store in the town and were asked by many of our customers to stock items that they once did, so we saw a gap in the market.”

We will very much remain a food store, that is at the core principle of everything we offer

Using new shelving units to open up the store, the sales area has been increased by about 20% by making areas once just for staff now available to customers too. “This gives the store a real sense of space that it didn’t have before and allows customers to browse more easily – so far, they really like the changes. In this area we stock all kitchen basic essentials ­– everything from a wooden spoon to a piping bag ­– and we have a range of food-related gifts, mugs, teapots, napkins and candles. We feel this new range perfectly complements the existing stock we have.


“We will very much remain a food store, that is at the core principle of everything we offer. However, we now feel a little like a gift shop and we have also branched out into treats for pets – who doesn’t want to spoil their little four-legged friends!?

As to the sourcing of stock, John says they always aim for exclusivity within the town. “New suppliers will only be supplying us in the local area to ensure we don’t have double tap of the same items within the town. Everything we stock will be from sustainable sources and  available in either recyclable or fully home-compostable packaging – this is something we very much aim for in the store.”