The Peoples Supermarket

Key Facts:

Project summary: The People’s Supermarket (TPS) is a food co-operative whose aim is to provide the local community with good cheap food that is fair to consumers and producers

Location: Holborn, London, UK

Programme: Members structure Supermarket

Initiator: Kate Bull, David Barry & Arthur-Potts Dawson

Project Duration: 2 1/2 years (Opened June 2010)

Lead in Time: 2 years (research and shop preparation)

Site Area: Shop floor area? (takes £30,00 to stock)

Client Team: The People’s Supermarket members

Project Team:
Initiated by three people with 100 members to begin. There are now just under 400 members. There is a working group, which manages the overall governance structure and a working group who manage the day to day running of the shop.

Funding Sources: Channel 4 production team £120k, Camden Council £40K, The Esmee Sairbirn Foundation 2 years GM salary

Funding Type: Grant

Project Costs (Build):

  • Labour (volunteers) £ N/A
  • Construction Materials: £10 per sq ft.
  • Water/Power connections: £350/month
  • Initial stocking of shelves £3,000
  • Current cost to stock shelves £30,000

Project Costs (Operation): Shop Licensing: included in lease, staffing: 12% turn over

Profitability/Loss: Debt of £60,000

Permissions / Permits: Included in the tenancy as the building was licensed as a shop

Local Links: Covent Garden Fruit and Veg market, local residents associations & local businesses, student population and Camden Volunteer council .

Publicity/advertising: Channel 4 program, Website, local advertising

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
Site owned by private commercial landlord. Difficult location as there has been no negotiation of rates with Camden Council even though TPS is operating with social values.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
1000 members, 400-500 footfall /week

Places looking at doing a similar initiatives:
International interest from Helsinki, Barcelona, Brazil, Sicily, Japan, Spain, Australia  and Germany
UK interest from – Cornwall, Newcastle, Kent, Edinburgh/Fife, Bradford, Hampstead, Hammersmith, Loughborough, Sutton

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Due to high rates and rent location of Holborn, TPS have had serious financial problems which has made it difficult to fully focus on the social values and aims of the supermarket. It has also been difficult to work solely with the members structure for staffing so they have needed to employ staff to keep the shop open every day.

Feedback from users / staff:
“It has been wonderful to be part of The People’s Supermarket, it is like a community centre but one that is welcome to all at any time of the day.”

What next?
The People’s Supermarket is still open and considering moving to other locations in London. They have done a feasibility report to possibly open in Homerton. There has been a great response to this but they have not been able to secure a proper building.

Complementary Programmes:
Café, Library

Project Website / Further Info: