We’re looking for new directors. Are you interested?” When you’ve lived in a small community like Charlbury, there comes a point when you feel you should contribute somehow.

There’s no shortage of local groups here clamouring for volunteers but two years ago, Charlbury’s little deli in Sheep Street reached a crisis point – although it had been a community asset for more than 20 years, the tiny premises was looking tired and the business was struggling.

In the last three years alone, Charlbury has lost a newsagent, a bookshop, a florist, a furniture shop and a coffee shop.

So back in 2015 the deli’s shareholders met, faced with two options: shut the business down or find new blood. Luckily I wasn’t the only one to fall for the call, and others on the team have much more experience than I do (my day job is in publishing). We’ve had a rollercoaster journey since. The good news is that we now have the swanky new Charlbury Deli & Cafe, with a lot more space for new products, and the first full-size café in the town for many years, open seven days a week. Of course it hasn’t been plain sailing!

The biggest challenge was to find a new premises. There weren’t many options until we realised that Old Bank House in Market Street, was empty. What we didn’t bargain on that negotiations would take more than a year. We whetted our appetites looking at shiny new equipment, attractive paint colours and a range of delicious-looking food.

In hindsight, the delay has been helpful, the town having seen the successful revamp of The Bull as an attractive gastropub, the growth of Wilderness Festival, and indeed the opening of Soho Farmhouse three miles away – all wooing wealthy gastronauts.

We also ran a stall at Charlbury’s annual street fair to find out what people wanted most: above all: good coffee, locally sourced merchandise and meals for young families. Oh, and David Cameron and his children want great sausages. All this is about listening to the community as well as developing our own vision.

Inevitably there have been some differences of opinion. We need to please older members of the community, who largely propped up the old shop, while also making other groups – families in particular – feel welcome. But you don’t make an omelette without cracking a few locally sourced, free-range eggs (yep, we sell those as well).

Our first two days saw the highest turnover on record. It’s brilliant to see the community response. The coffee hipsters of Oxford’s Missing Bean roastery have given us expert advice. We have a children’s menu, a courtyard garden, and a breakout room with a sofa and toys. And do tell the Camerons: they’ll love the local sausages we’ll be selling soon, the ham from Chipping Norton, the Upton Smokery fish and the wide range of cheeses.

See charlburydeli.cafe