Carrick Greengrocers is a community-owned greengrocer established by people who live in, work in, or are otherwise passionate about Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. They aim to trade in a way that supports a sustainable environment and economy and all profits are directed back into the business and local initiatives.
Like many places across the UK Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland has seen its town centre decline in recent years. An organisation called Positive Carrickfergus consulted with local people to find out what they really wanted and needed for their town.
It soon became clear that there was significant demand for a community-owned greengrocers, which trades in a way to tackle environmental and economic challenges facing the local community.
With support from a co-operative advisor, the group registered as a community benefit society in July 2022 and began working on a community share offer. The nature of this finance meant it brought people in and along with them on the journey and they benefited from having customers before they’d even opened their doors.
With a target of £25,000, the share offer closed in June 2023 having raised more than £34,000 from 434 investor members.
Carrick Greengrocers provide nutrient-rich, locally-sourced and in season food to their loyal customers and have benefited from their focus on spotlighting local producers.
Their business plan estimated that they would take £625 in the first week of trading, yet they took £10,000 in total.
“We decided we would do a community share offer to raise start-up finance, as well as having the added benefit of bringing people in. When people invest in community shares, you’ve got customers before you’ve even opened your doors. We’re the first community owned greengrocer in Northern Ireland and we want to inspire people in other places to see this as a viable option for community wealth building.”
Lee Robb, Director at Carrick Greengrocers