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People power is new shop’s secret weapon
WITH the ‘big four’ stores dominating shopping habits, the new People’s Supermarket in Cowley Road wants to add variety to Oxford.
As reported in yesterday’s Oxford Mail, the shop works through members paying an annual fee of £12.
In return, they have to volunteer four hours a month, for which they get 20 per cent off their shopping.
Founder Chris Waites pledged competitive prices – but a sample shop cost the Oxford Mail more than in Tesco (see panel).
Mr Waites said of his store, which opened for business on Saturday: “The idea is that by keeping our costs very low we can offer cheaper, better and ethically-sourced food in a convenient supermarket format.
“Obviously it is disappointing that Tesco was cheaper, but it is a work in progress.
“Fruit and veg is the area we have focused on at the moment and our prices should get cheaper in the coming months.”
Any profits will go back into the store or be invested in community projects, he said.
“Profit is not our key motive and the first difference I would hope you would notice is the quality of the food will be better, because everything in a big supermarket has been engineered to a price point.”
The People’s Supermarket started in London in 2009 after its three founders were inspired by a co-operative in Brooklyn, New York.
The Oxford branch is the first outside the capital and sells locally-produced food.
Shopper and member Julie Priest, 38, from Greater Leys, said: “It is a brilliant idea because the big supermarkets are getting all-powerful.
“In this day and age it is getting more and more important that you can buy local.”
Vicarage Road resident Gilles Arnoux said: “I am already a member and I look forward to being a part of this experience.
The offering it has is quite competitive,” he added.
lFor information visit tpsoxford.org