We are competing with the superstores

A TOWN centre business is determined to show that small shops can
compete with the supermarkets.

Baraka groceries store in Lagos Street, has been open less than three
months but co-owners Shamsuddoha Choudhury and his cousin Golam
Choudhury said trade has returned to the area since the shop

The cousins have invested £200,000 to transform the former butcher’s

Shamsuddoha, 32, said: “It’s going to be a challenge obviously, but I
think all the good ones will survive.”

He argued that although some of the products might be cheaper in the
supermarkets, overall the price at the smaller store worked out lower.
Overall, we’re cheaper and that’s why people are still
coming and we’re surviving.”

Shamsuddoha, who was formerly in the catering industry, said he was
persuaded to move from Harrow to set up the business by his cousin.

Golam has lived in Swindon for four years and was working in another
town centre business.

Work had already started on the shop by mid-October, but the property
was official signed over in early November. After six weeks
construction, the shop opened officially on November 19.

Renovations inside included extending the shop into the previously
sub-letted premises next door in order to separate the halal butcher’s
section and grocery section.

Shamsuddoha said this change ensured that the premises was more
hygienic and there was less risk of contamination.

Shamsuddoha said: “It wasn’t that great when we took it over, but the
renovations and our effort has made a big difference.

“It’s ticking over week to week, day to day – we see the improvements
and get compliments from the customers.

“People are happy to have it back.”

He said it was important to consider the range of different
nationalities living in the area and to cater to everyone’s needs.

The shop provides Indian, Oriental, Afro-Caribbean, Mediterranean and
English food.

“There is diversity in Swindon, there are quite a lot of different
types of people here,” said Shamsuddoha.

“We’re just trying to make it good for everybody.”