The Southern Co-operative has opened its new flagship store which majors on fresh local produce.

The store, in Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight stocks food and drink from more than 35 local growers, under its Local Flavours brand.

Kate Hibbert, The Southern Co-operative’s local sourcing manager, said: “The Isle of Wight is renowned for its quality and diversity of local produce and is where our popular Local Flavours range originated nine years ago; this range has now extended to Hampshire, Sussex and across southern England as demand has increased, promoting local distinctiveness and offering valuable support to local food producers and suppliers.”

A dedicated ‘Fresh from the Island’ counter offers locally sourced meat, fish, cheese, savoury pies and more. Free Local Flavours tastings will be held regularly in store to enable customers to try new products from the range and encourage them to support local too.

The store opening has created an additional 30 jobs for local people, in addition to the team who have moved from The Southern Co-operative’s smaller store in Freshwater, which has now closed.

General Manager Tony McGuinness added: “It’s really important to all of us here that the store is at the hub of the local community and with our new store opening, we want to continue the strong relationship that we have with our customers and local organisations.”

A defibrillator has been fitted on the store’s exterior wall for emergency medical use by the community and general Post Office services – bill payments, sending letters and parcels -  are available seven days a week.

The store also features a raft of energy efficient technologies including low energy LED lighting and occupancy sensors. 

All electricity comes from renewable sources through a green energy contract and there are parking spaces and charging points for customers with electrical cars.