09 Mar Do you want to own Replenish Weston?
Many of you have talked to me about wanting to own a shop like Replenish Weston, or have offered to volunteer or work in Replenish, heck someone has even offered to outright buy it. Well – your chance has arrived! OK, it might have arrived if we can come together and overcome a few barriers. No I’m not talking about selling up and running away. Come on, you know I love the shop, the food and you – the wonderful customers.
So what am I banging on about? As the first birthday of Replenish Weston approaches, my mind has returned to the idea of the shop being owned by the community. This is how I always imagined it to be. That I would get the shop up and running, and if popular, hand it over to the community. I’ve floated this idea before, and some of you have expressed interest before, so I think it’s about time we seriously considered making it happen.
So, here are my cards laid out on the table.
An award-winning business
Replenish Weston works. Have you seen our two shiny trophies? As voted for by customers, we have recently won two awards – Green Business of the Year and Innovation – and we’re not even a year old!
This offer isn’t about the community rescuing a failing business. This is about an opportunity for the community to build on the success already achieved and turn Replenish into a thriving, financially sustianable business that sticks around.
Financially, we are on the right track. Since day one we have met all of our running costs (with the exception of wages) and sales are increasing. We now need to take it to the next level to reach the point where we can pay a living wage to whoever is working at Replenish. We want to provide jobs for local people. I know we can reach that point, but that is going to take time – so I’ll be frank. It is not sustainable for Rik and myself to continue working for free while we work towards that.
Forming a community co-operative that buys Replenish could be the answer. The major benefit of a community buyout is the principle that giving the community ownership of a business with a greater influence in how the organisation operates, in turn leads to superior business performance. Could be perfect, right? You can read about community buyouts by clicking here.
I want to help form a small group of people who will become the board of the community co-operative society and buy Replenish Weston. I want to be one of them! What will being on the board mean? Deciding on the structure of the cooperative including who can be a member and what benefits they’d receive; taking responsibility for day-to-day operations; increasing business performance; and ensuring the longterm sustainability of our shop.
Does that sound scary? Take it form someone who had no idea what she was doing a year ago – anyone can do this, we will do it as a team, we will support each other to learn what we don’t already know.
I think the cost of the community buyout (cost of existing stock / fixtures & fittings, legal costs, perhaps a bit on top to increase stock or improve the shop space) could be funded by crowdfunding, such as via Spacehive
It’s really important to point out that I am not trying to make a profit from the sale and expecting crowdfunding to fund that. Whatever value is decided for the business will be based purely on recouping costs such as fixtures & fittings, stock etc. I will not make a profit from the community buyout.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in and talk to me with any ideas, questions or comments. Once I have found out if anyone is interested I will set a date for us to get together and discuss next steps as a group. Ideally, in the next few weeks (yeah, I’m impatient – there’s no time like the present!). So if you are in any way curious, get in touch for a totally no obligation chat.