Stirchley Stores

Happy Birthday Stirchley Stores!

Happy Birthday Stirchley Stores!

We hope that you’re enjoying the crisp Autumn weather!  Stirchley Stores as we know it opened with a brand new shop shop at the beginning of September 2012 and we’ve been open now for over a year.   We’re celebrating our first birthday at the AGM on 28th November 2013.  Its at 7pm at Stirchley Stores and this years theme is “Get to know your coop”.  We’ll be having workshops on the different areas of our cooperative and be discussing the future direction of Stirchley Stores.  Anyone is welcome to join – its bring a dish and we’ll be having drinks at the Royal Oak afterwards.

Highlights and Our Story

We’ve come a long way from the humble beginnings of a buying group in a house on Pershore Road to concept…

and then into a reality…

We’ve had a bit of help along the way, we’ve a special thanks to the following organisations…

  • Big Lottery for a Volunteer Coordinator for a year and shop equipment
  • Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur Fund for a shop manager and training
  • Barrow Cadbury Trust for our first order of stock
  • Midlands Cooperative who paid our industrial provenance society registration
  • Coop Futures for 5 business mentoring sessions.
  • Wickes in Stirchley for stock room floor paint.
  • Wilkinsons in Kings Heath for a donation towards scoop boxes

Our values have remained the same and we’re proud to be selling Ethical, Affordable and Local Food to the South Birmingham Community.  The range of stock sold has developed from predominantly focusing on the scoop area…

…to branching out and selling a wide range of essential and luxury products bought locally.  When we first opened, we had approximately 150 different stock lines.  We now have over 400 lines, and hold between £4000 and £5000 worth of stock at any one time.

In addition to our main ethical wholesaler, Suma, we were joined from the beginning by local artisan suppliers Cuffufle preserves and JackRabbit herbs & spices. We’ve since added Pip’s hot sauces, Revolver coffee, Urban Harvest, and G. Francis honey and the first honey co-operative.

We also now stock a value range of staples from local Asian food wholesaler East End.

In the past year, we’ve sold approximately 300 kg of rice, over 200kg each of oats, pasta and peanut butter(!), and around 700 tins of chopped tomatoes and 400 tins of chick peas.

We would love to have been able to do more marketing…. However this year we’ve still made a professional flyer, attended 8 markets and kept a strong presence on social media.

We now have 1025 followers on twitter and have done 707 tweets in just over a year.   Our facebook page has over 350 likes.

Over 120 people have been inducted into Stirchley Stores and our members have volunteered over 3075 hours in the shop.   Members have benefited from a veg scheme, 10% discount, learning new skills, increased community spirit and much more…!

We’ve worked with a group of young people from the Challenge, attended a skill sharing workshop in Handsworth and met with a wide range of people from neighbors on the high street to the Sustainability forum at Birmingham City Council.

THANK YOU!We love our coop.  We’d like to thank all of our members, local community and supporters for all of your kind support over the past year.  We’ve given each other access to a REAL alternative to the supermarkets, where we’ve kept waste to a minimum and increased people’s awareness of the importance of buying locally and ethically.The Future

Our fantastic deal with Loaf of our free retail tenancy is coming to an end within the next 3-6 months.  We’re looking for people who are interested in opening a new shop which will be a cooperative with a structure of your choosing (its likely that the key members will also be paid staff).    We’ve looked at the risks of a range of different models and options and even have a potential tenancy at the Stirchley Baths, but we need people who are keen in being instrumental in the planning and opening of a new project.

If you’d like some more information we’ll be discussing it more at the AGM or get in contact with