GENEROUS Wearside convenience stores are donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to charity every year.
New research from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has revealed that shops around the North East gave a staggering £870,000 to various charities in 2012, with each store – 173 in Sunderland – giving about £500 to a good cause.
Former owner of Wilson’s Super Shop, Richard Wilson, whose daughters now own the business in Ashbrooke, said giving money to charity is the best way to give something back to the customers.
“We first bought the shop in 2001 and collecting money for charity is just something we have always naturally done,” he said.
“I think it fits in with us being a family and community shop.”
Wilson’s, owned by sisters Natalie Cowell, 31, and Kimberely Huitson, 28, raise about £1,000 a year in collection boxes for animal charity PDSA, and arthritis research organisation Arc.
Richard, 60, married to Denise, 62, also completed the Marathon of the North earlier this year, and collected part of the £700 sponsor money from shop customers.
“We live in the community and we want people to be confident that we aren’t just here for commercial reasons,” he said. “But that we are here as a resource for them, and we are their friends and neighbours.”
Sanjeev Vadhera, financial director of North East Convenience stores, which owns 21 shops, including Nisa, at the Broadway, Grindon, also said it’s important to contribute to the community.
He said: “We are very much community retailers, and because our customers shop with us day in, day out, we like to make a contribution.
“We would like to give more, but in the current financial climate it’s not always possible.”
The Nisa store, run by manager Marie Gilbertson, fund-raisers – this year for the Teenage Cancer Trust – by giving about 2p of profits from certain food items, and 2p from purchases of carrier bags to charity.
“We have given about £250 so far this year,” said Marie, “and would expected to give about £500 by the end of the year.
“In total, the stores around the North East aim to give about £10,000 each year to charity.
“We have been doing this for about three or four years, and it’s very important to us to that we are giving something back.”
Overall, the survey by ACS found that 79 per cent of retailers in the North East are active in their communities in some way, with the most popular form of engagement being raising money for charity.