Locavore is a social enterprise which exists to build a sustainable food system which is better for people and planet. Over the last 11 years they’ve grown from a tiny Shawlands shop into an organisation that’s a market for good food that’s given new food businesses the confidence to start up and others the ability to scale up and grow.
In their investigation (Locavore and the Leaky Bucket) they found that when £1 is spent in their Govanhill shop it was worth £1.92 to Glasgow, £2.36 to Scotland and £2.87 to Scottish and progressive producers. This is because that money stays local or with ‘good’ businesses. For comparison £1 spent in a normal supermarket is generously expected to be worth £1.24 to the local area.
They currently have four shops across central Scotland, 4 organic market gardens and a central hub where they pack their veg boxes and deliver wholesale orders to other retailers around the country. On top of that they have a kitchen supplying their cafes and shops, and run projects like community plots at Bellahouston, and the Good Food Fund which gets good food to those in most need.
What went wrong:
Since launching their Bigger Plan in early 2021 they’ve gone through a period of rapid growth and expansion. With opened new shops in Garnethill, Kirkintilloch and Edinburgh, bought Narrowboat Market Garden near Linlithgow and took on and fitted out a warehouse from which they run their wholesale business, and veg box deliveries.
From early 2022 the cost of living crisis started brewing and this combined with other factors meant that they had a serious cash flow problem developing. The new shops opened were less busy than we had anticipated and at the same time the other shops were a bit quieter than they had been previously, and veg box numbers were reducing.
Much of the expansion was financed by lending from Social Investment Scotland (SIS), a social lender that distributes loans from government funds. Locavore made them aware of the situation and the need for further investment to bridge the gap till they could make new locations profitable and make other changes in the business. We were encouraged to apply to the Recovery & Resilience Loan Fund. A catalogue of delays from SIS meant we did not get a solid answer till late October, instead of July, the intended original decision date.
The Recovery Plan:
The plan is to do what it takes to survive without any immediate investment while keeping as much of Locavore intact as possible so they can minimise damage to the long-term ambitions of Locavore. This is a plan focused on cutting costs fast and improving profitability to quickly bring the business to a position where it ends each month in a slightly better position than it started.
- Locavore Garnethill has closed.
- Reviewed and changing opening hours at branches.
- Reduce staff hours in all shops.
- Raise £50k through crowdfunding. This will give Locavore the breathing space needed to move from making a loss to making a small profit again. By improving margins, reducing waste and bringing in new income from renting out offices and sheds dotted around. Fancy a potting shed, art studio or office for your sustainable business or project? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
- Once they are breaking even they will take on new investment through loanstock or private investors. You can register interest in investing here.
How else you can help:
- Use their shops in Govanhill, Partick, Kirkintilloch & Dalry in Edinburgh.
- Sign up for a veg box, and invite your friends to do the same. They deliver all over central Scotland and down into Ayrshire.
- Get in a Christmas order with them for everything from trees and turkeys to seitan roasts and hampers.
- Find out about investing
- Share their crowdfunder and sign up to raise funds on our behalf.
- If you buy for a business then find out about their wholesale email@example.com