Get set for a second People’s Supermarket

Bicester Advertiser: Manager Sarah Thorne and staff celebrate the People’s Supermarket on Cowley Road reaching £100,000 in takings Buy this photo » Manager Sarah Thorne and staff celebrate the People’s Supermarket on Cowley Road reaching £100,000 in takings

A SECOND branch of the People’s Supermarket could open in Oxford or Didcot following the success of the first store.

The supermarket in Cowley Road, Oxford, was opened in July by grocer Chris Waites, 25, from Long Wittenham, near Didcot.

It runs as a not-for-profit organisation, providing money to local groups.

On Saturday its total takings to date passed the £100,000 mark.

Founder and general manager of the store Mr Waites said: “We are delighted that we have reached this point in such a short space of time after opening the store.

“We reached our first £100,000 on Saturday – the majority of which has already been invested back into Oxfordshire via over 50 local suppliers to the shop.

“In that time we’ve served over 26,000 customers and now have 449 members and owners of the shop – that’s more than the London shop, which has 430.

“After taking into account our start-up costs, we have about £5,500 net profit and that money will go to local good causes.

“People have nominated a number of good causes which could get some money including mental health charity Restore in Manzil Way and the Cowley Road Carnival.”

Mr Waites said the success of the Cowley Road store meant he and other members were considering setting up a second store.

“A store in Didcot could go ahead, or it’s possible that there could be a second store in Oxford, although we don’t want to run before we can walk,” Mr Waites added.

“We have had a lot of interest from different communities who would like to follow our lead and we are trying to put together some guidelines other groups could follow.”

Last month Mr Waites installed 25 6ft-long overhead lights with LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs in an effort to save costs and be energy-efficient.

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It cost about £600 to replace the bulbs but with the energy savings the store makes, it will recoup the money within a year.

In September, staff were shocked when thieves climbed over a wall and stole a safe containing £2,500.

Mr Waites added: “It was a real setback when the safe was stolen, but we have improved security measures since and gone from strength-to-strength.

“Having the money stolen was a hard lesson to learn but we have moved on.”

Sarah Thorne, 27, of Iffley Road, Oxford, who manages volunteers at the supermarket, said: “It’s great to reach this landmark figure of £100,000.

“Support for the People’s Supermarket is growing in the community all the time. I think the shop is what Cowley Road really needs.”

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