How to start a co-op shop

August 1, 2012

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The People’s Supermarket, a newish co-op supermarket on Lamb’s Conduit St, has just published Secret Sauce, the story of how it got going, with advice for other wannabe co-op start-ups.

The guide covers areas such as:

How can you find and secure the right premises?

How do you finance yourself at start-up?

How do you attract members, stock the shop, organise an effective product offer and keep the momentum going?

Part of the aim of the People’s Supermarket was to build a membership and client base that truly reflected the make-up of the local area, that delivered commercial success with social value. The report talks about how they grew and engaged their membership, structured their business and developed their offer. It has been published by NESTA and is available online for free here.


decommissioning – necessary evil or opportunity for innovation?

April 18, 2012

So, you’ve come up with your brilliant idea for a new service. You’ve managed to get it up and running, and the council or community led commissioning group have commissioned you to deliver the service to Lambeth residents. More and more people are choosing to come to you rather than the service the council was previously providing, and you can show that the quality of the service is better.

But here’s the rub – what happens to the old service? Its continuation will ultimately limit the growth and viability of new service. Moreover, the gains to the council of moving to a new service model are limited by continuing to support the older service.

Decommissioning isn’t something that’s often discussed, but this new report from NESTA includes a series of case studies from different public services looking at the opportunities and difficulties of decommissioning, and draws some lessons on how to get it right, with practical advice.

Ultimately, they argue that decommissioning is a discipline that can act as a spark for creativity and innovation. It can encourage commissioners to constantly evaluate and challenge service models for the impact they have, in turn driving innovation amongst service providers.

Definitely worth read 

NESTA decommissioning report