The Exmoor Producers Association Shop finaly closed on Saturday, 13th Jan 2018.
It's 17 years ago this week since we opened our Shop in Washford Mill, which was then officially opened by the Princess Royal the following February. After just over 5 wonderful years there the owners decided they would like to apply to convert the Mill into flats and so we moved to Friday Street in March 2006 and have thoroughly enjoyed our time here.
However, as they say, all good things come to an end and sadly, after suffering losses for the last four years and with four Producers, along with the Chairman and Manager deciding that it was time to leave or retire, it was unanimously agreed, by the twelve members present at the recent EGM that the Shop should close at the end of December - or early in January. It was also agreed that The Exmoor Producers Association would be wound up.
We are very proud of what we have achieved over the years since, with the aid of grant funding from Rural Development Commission, the European Rural Development Fund and the Exmoor National Park (who also provided the free use of an office for several years) The Exmoor Producers Association, a limited company, was set up to promote local businesses in the Greater Exmoor area.
The E.P.A. grew rapidly and staged a grand showcase event near Tiverton and went on to organise many shows, all over Exmoor. When the funding ran out it became a struggle to keep going as there wasn't enough money to employ the staff that had organised everything in the early years. With the help of volunteers we still continued to keep many of the shows going for a considerable number of years.
The idea of a Shop had come to fruition in November 2000 and was opened as a co-operative, with everyone having an equal share in the Shop.
The Shop has helped a total of 98 Producers to sell their goods over the years - some have gone on to greater things, others have moved away, retired or left to raise families and some have simply left because they have realised that they cannot make enough money from their business. It has been great fun over the years and we have had some extremely successful years, but as people's circumstances and shopping habits have changed and so many now shop online, it is no longer viable to keep the Shop open.
We would like to thank all our loyal customers, of which there have been many over the years, and all the lovely holiday makers who seek us out when they visit the area - we hope you will continue to support us to the end of the year and make sure you pop in soon for all those unique Christmas gifts - some of which are selling out fast!