The People’s Supermarket (TPS) has announced a long-term partnership with Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore, ending its current supplier agreement with Nisa.
Under the partnership agreement, AF Blakemore will become the main grocery supplier for the London co-operative supermarket. It will fund a £100,000 development plan which includes a revamped store layout, new refrigeration, upgraded IT systems and training support.
However, TPS will continue to be a member-owned and member-run co-operative, building on its range of products from local suppliers.
CEO Kate Bull said: “Working with AF Blakemore gives us the opportunity to not only secure our future here in Holborn, but also develop a new form of social franchising, which should enable us to work with other communities and create more People’s Supermarkets across the country.
She added: “We wanted to find a business partner which had the ability to invest and the desire to help us expand nationally.”
She said the co-operative would remain “completely independent” and would start off with a minimum number of Spar lines, such as its own label range. “We won’t be taking fresh produce at the beginning as we have our own local suppliers and Spar’s range is too packaged for us. But we want to talk to it about improving its environmental performance.”
AF Blakemore recruitment director Louis Drake said: “Working with The People’s Supermarket is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for AF Blakemore. We are really excited and look forward to the partnership developing.”
Bull said the partnership would also benefit AF Blakemore, which would learn about “direct engagement with a community”.