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Roots to Work is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.

Village Shop Manager

Chettle Estate
Chettle, Dorset

Posted: 24 May 2024

Deadline: 8 Jul 2024

Compensation: £22,000-£30,000 per annum

Paid Full-time Permanent


Job description

We are looking for a passionate, self-motivated, friendly, outgoing, and environmentally minded manager to run the busy and successful Chettle Village Store.

This is a unique and exciting opportunity for someone with a solid background in independent retail management to join a great, close-knit team and contribute to the warm, friendly, and highly valued service provided by Chettle Village Store to the village and the local community. We are looking for someone who can lead and manage with confidence, be the face of the business, and be a real pillar of our thriving, unique, and somewhat off-beat community.

This is a very exciting time for Chettle and a great time to join the team. Following a successful decade of trading that has seen us outgrow our old shop, we recently moved the shop to larger and more suitable premises in a converted cart shed on the old dairy farm. We are now looking for someone who can provide solid support to the current Business Development Manager by taking on most of the day-today management of the shop and freeing him up to focus on longer-term plans for the store and for the wider Estate.

About Chettle:

The Village of Chettle is one of the last remaining examples in the UK of a true ‘Estate Village’. The current custodian, Alice Favre, is a committed environmentalist and has a long-term vision for Chettle of building a thriving and vibrant ‘working village’ where local people can afford to live well and where a genuine sense of community is fostered. There are no second homes or privately owned holiday homes in the village and rents are kept well below market value.

About Chettle Village Store:

Chettle has been home to a village shop for the better part of a century, and until recently operated out of a charming (but very worn-down) Nissen hut style building that was originally built on Blandford Camp during WW2. The shop is owned by the Estate and had run at a loss since supermarkets became the habit of choice, but the Estate understood its value and subsidised it so that it could continue to provide essential services to the village’s 100 or so residents. In the last few years though, the shop has seen very strong sales growth and in 2020 turned a profit for the first time in decades.

Today, the shop is perhaps best known for its award-winning Pies, but it also has a growing reputation for stocking a wide range of organic, locally sourced and alternative groceries, health foods, confectionary, organic and local fruit and veg, and household products. Our ethos is that we are here to support the whole community, and to find environmentally sustainable and ethical ways to do so. The shop is intentionally not a niche or exclusive high-end ‘Farm Shop’, and for everything we stock we aim to carry both the every-day basics you might find in any corner shop, as well as ethical, locally made, or environmentally friendly alternatives.

Whilst the shop is a commercial enterprise and is run for profit, the primary mission is to provide an asset to the community which offers good employment opportunities, sells everything that the locals and regulars might need, and serves as a hub and focal point for the wider community. The profits from the shop are re-invested back into the Estate’s overall vision for Chettle.

About the role:

As mentioned above, the Store Manager role is a vital role in the life of the community in Chettle. We are looking someone with a real passion for customer and community service, who brings personality and vibrancy to the role and creates a warm and welcoming experience for everyone who comes in. The role comprises doing a little of everything; from processing deliveries, filing invoices, and stacking shelves, to taking customer orders, maintaining food hygiene standards and using social media to promote products and the overall retail offer. The role requires a good level of flexibility as you will be expected to work at least 1 weekend day in most weeks and may be expected to change your hours depending on the needs of the business.

To align with the wider vision for Chettle and the local community, we are also looking for someone with a good understanding of food and the food supply chain, preferably with an awareness of and interest in organic and regenerative food production practices, the importance of localism, and how to promote these benefits to our customers in an inclusive way.

  • Role type – Permanent, full time
  • ~40hrs / week over 4 or 5 days per week
  • Salary Range - £22,000 to £30,000 depending on experience.
  • 28 days / year paid holiday (exc. Bank Holidays as the shop is open on most)

Primary Responsibilities

  • Be the face of the business and uphold the high standards of service our community has come to expect.
  • Ensure adequate staffing levels at all times, including planning rotas and overseeing the holiday schedule.
  • Opening, closing, cashing up and overall security.
  • Manage stock levels and placing orders.
  • Merchandising and shop layout planning, ensuring the retail offer is kept fresh, seasonal, and well presented.
  • Overseeing reductions and promotions to minimise wastage.
  • Managing invoices and accounts information and liaising with suppliers to address issues.
  • Managing the product and customer databases to keep them accurate and up to date.
  • Analysing sale and purchasing data to better inform shop operations.
  • Ensure compliance with all health and safety, fire safety and food hygiene requirements.
  • Manage the stock selection, removing and bringing in lines as appropriate.
  • Take a pro-active approach to online marketing and work with the BDM and the owner to provide content for social media posts.
  • Promoting repeat business through use of social media, loyalty schemes and fostering good will towards the shop.
  • To work with the owner and BDM to continue improving the shop and meet agreed sales targets.

Essential qualities:

  • Minimum 3 years retail management or equivalent customer facing role (preferably for an independent or small chain).
  • A warm and engaging demeanour.
  • Excellent people skills.
  • Able to build long standing relationships with customers and suppliers alike.
  • IT proficient, in particular a good understanding of Excel/Googlesheets.
  • Competent with social media, including Facebook & Instagram.
  • Organisational and time management skills.
  • A creative approach to merchandising and a good eye for making displays
  • An ability to remain calm and focussed under pressure.
  • Ability to lead by example, delegate, and manage staff.
  • A good understanding of cost control and balancing sales, purchases, and stock levels.
  • A good understanding of retail financial management, i.e. cost control, shrinkage, VAT, budget setting, profit margins and pricing.
  • Experience with CRM and/or inventory management software.

Other Requirements

  • Driving License & own transport (we are in a rural location with poor public transport)
  • Minimum Level 2 food hygiene or above (for retail or catering)

If you interested in this role, please contact us directly on and send a copy of your CV along with a covering letter explaining why you would like to work for Chettle Village Store and why you think you would be a good fit for the role.

Application information

Please contact us directly on and send a copy of your CV along with a covering letter explaining why you would like to work for Chettle Village Store and why you think you would be a good fit for the role.

Please mention Roots to Work when applying for these jobs

About Chettle Estate

We are an 850 acre estate with a close knit community of 100, a well stocked village shop, a 50 seat restaurant with 8 rooms and some other thriving businesses in workshops dotted around the estate. The estate has no land agents behind it so the 'rules' are different to most other estates. Chettle is no ordinary village. We are challenging the status quo and creating a thriving village and abundant landscape that is fit for the environmental and social challenges that are increasingly facing us. It is becoming a beacon for people who can see that our current way of life is harming the natural world and who want to live and work differently. We like to collaborate with friendly, innovative and respectful people who are committed to finding brave ways to create a better future.

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