THINGS are looking up at Oxford’s only community supermarket despite an early setback.
The People’s Supermarket in Cowley Road, which opened two months ago, was recently hit by thieves.
But since opening its membership has more than doubled., although there was a trading loss of £3,000.
Members pay £12 a year to join The People’s Supermarket and have to volunteer four hours a month of their time to work in the shop.
In return they get a 20 per cent discount on their shopping and a say in how the shop is run.
Any profits will either go back into the store or be invested into community projects.
Manager Chris Waites said: “It has been going really well. The shop has been getting busier and busier.
“We are expanding the product range all the time, but there is still a long way to go.
“There have been one or two negative comments, but mostly to do with the fact that we don’t have the same product range as Tesco.
“It has been really nice to have so many people involved in the supermarket and the overwhelming feedback is that they are enjoying working here. Some of our retired members are coming in for 20 hours a week because they enjoy it so much.”
Earlier this month thieves broke into the shop and stole a safe containing £2,500, money which would have gone towards computers in the store and Mr Waites has said he will look at improving security.
The first People’s Supermarket opened in London in 2009 inspired by a co-operative in Brooklyn, New York.
Oxford’s branch is the first outside the capital and is supplied by 50 local producers.
In its first month the shop made a loss of £3,000 but Mr Waites said he was expecting this to happen.
When the shop opened it had a membership of just 132 but now 360 people have joined up.
Since opening, the shop has also been equipped with a kitchen which turns damaged produce into food such as cakes or sandwiches.
Headington resident Rachel Hammond, 31, joined shortly after the supermarket opened.
She said: “It is quite exciting to own a part of a supermarket and having a say in the shop.
“I do as much of my shopping here as I can. “Working in the supermarket is amazing.”