A sustainable supermarket with ‘a very different way of doing business’ is planning to open a store in Worthing.
HISBE, which is based in York Place, Brighton, is hoping to open its second supermarket in the town in April.
In order to do so, the social enterprise is targeting a £450,000 bond raise through an investment crowdfunding campaign on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform.
Amy Anslow, who founded HISBE with her sister, Ruth Anslow, and their friend Jack Simmonds, said they had been looking to open a second store for several years, but had struggled to secure another site in the Brighton and Hove area because of competition from high street chains.
Instead they decided to branch out to Worthing, where Amy moved last June.
Explaining the ethos behind HISBE – which stands for How Things Should Be – Amy said the store had ‘a very different way of doing business’ than an ordinary supermarket.
The store uses local suppliers, local service providers and local employment – with all staff paid above the living wage and suppliers paid within 45 days, which she said was ‘revolutionary’ within supermarkets.
They buy as much locally as they can and only use high welfare animal products.
Shareholders and directors are not paid large dividends, which allows them to manage prices and margins very differently and try to make ‘quality food as affordable as possible’.
At the Brighton store, which opened six years ago and was ‘very successful’, for every £1 that is spent, about 50p goes back into the local economy, Amy said.
She said opening up in Worthing was ‘a real opportunity’.
“There really isn’t anywhere to buy locally sourced, organic, unpackaged food,” she said – though she pointed out that zero-waste store Larder was doing a ‘brilliant’ job.
“I think there’s a really engaged community in Worthing, who want to shop differently but don’t have an alternative at the moment.”
HISBE has provisionally secured the site of a former Eastern European supermarket in Portland Road for the supermarket.
“It’s just off the high street and close to residential areas, so we think it’s a solid location for us,” she said.
“There’s lots happening in Portland Road, it’s becoming a hub of independent businesses.
“It will be fully pedestrianised by the end of this year.”
Amy said there were many Brighton brands that had moved to Worthing – including Boho Gelato, Small Batch and Berts.
“This injection of independent businesses is exactly what Worthing needs to invigorate the high street and make it a vibrant town centre,” she said.
Amy said they were hoping to employ between 10 and 12 people at the supermarket, and would be recruiting locally.
Anyone with retail experience was encouraged to apply.
The crowdfunding campaign will raise money to fund the fit-out of the shop, provide working capital and cover the anticipated first year trading loss for the Worthing store.
The minimum investment for the bond offer is £50.