A community-owned greengrocers has opened its doors in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, after a successful share offer.
The campaign, which saw the Carrick Greengrocers smash its £25,000 fundraising target to make more than £34,000, saw 434 people join up as members.
The store says it “will trade in a way that supports a sustainable environment and economy” and will use local, environmentally friendly growers as suppliers.
“We are more than just a greengrocer,” it adds. “We are a welcoming hub in the town centre that provides opportunities for learning, community interaction and engagement.”
“All our profits are directed back into the business and into other local initiatives aimed at benefiting the Carrickfergus community.”
The project has been supported by a number of organisations including Northern Ireland co-op development body Cooperative Alternatives, which continues to offer consultation and facilitation support.
There was also support from Social Enterprise NI, Carrickfergus Enterprise Agency and Positive Carrickfergus.
In its business plan, Carrick Greengrocers says it wants to “ensure that everyone in the community will have access to nutrient-rich, locally sourced and in season food“ by establishing “a vibrant, community-owned, and socially conscious greengrocer business in the town centre”.
It also aims to supply goods, produce and services and make Carrick’s local economy more resilient, and provide “opportunities for learning, community interaction and engagement through volunteering opportunities”.
The co-op adds: “We will trade in products which have minimum impact on the environment, and we make decisions about packaging with this in mind”.
Workers will be paid the Living Wage, it says, and the business “will aim to support like-minded ventures, co-operatives or otherwise. We will promote social and educational activities for all our members in accordance with our principles.“