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8:50am Thursday 29th March 2012 in Leader
The vision of a group of people opening their own food store and successfully taking on the might of the supermarkets is an appealing one.
This vision underpins the idea of a ‘People’s Supermarket’, which is proposed for either Cowley Road or Marston, in Oxford, and in Didcot, by the summer.
Under the scheme, shoppers can opt to pay a membership fee and volunteer in order to help cut management and staff costs.
This of course should result in cheaper goods.
Members will have to pay an annual fee of about £12 and volunteer for four hours a month, but in return they get 20 per cent off their shopping.
Says founder Chris Waites: “It’s a normal supermarket, but the prices are much, much cheaper. And it will have a nice community feel to it.”
He said the store would be a non-profit venture with any surplus being invested into the store or put into the community.
The idea reflects the ideals that underpin the co-operative movement, which has successfully developed its own chain of stores. It all sounds wonderful, and there are two existing People’s Supermarkets operating in Camden and Hackney.
But pragmatic Graham Jones, chairman of Oxford traders’ group Rox, while welcoming the idea as innovative sounded a note of caution.
He said: “If they have done their homework it should be great.”
We hope they have.