Rural shops are often described as the heart of the community where people meet exchanging news, maintaining informal friendship and support networks whilst making small every day purchases. They host a variety of services and are commonly a key information point for residents.
Changes in individual lifestyles such as internet shopping, greater car ownership, home delivery services combined with competition from supermarket chains mean that many small rural shops are finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Their loss could result in further isolation and the loss of key services to those residents living in rural communities who are not able to travel or confident about using technology.
Other potential effects are on health and well being. For example the daily routine of walking to the shop for the newspaper and having a chat aids both physical and mental well-being.
Rural shops often include home accommodation for the owner and when individuals decide to retire or leave the business they tend to be either: