‘Just’ is the shop that lets us have goods on a Sale or Return basis for the MH Church Fair Trade and Eco Stall
These are extracts from a letter sent out to those of us who volunteer (or did!) at the shop from Sarah, the leader of the co-operative, social enterprise business.
Depending on when and how the lockdown is lifted, we will need to assess how we can as groups or individuals support this initiative.
But right now we can support with prayer.
‘Initially part of me liked the idea of just sitting tight, and weathering the storm so to speak. However I soon realised we can't do that. Talking with the other shops I'm reminded of our core principles, why we are in business. If this was all about keeping Just going for the sake of Just, then maybe it wouldn't be worth it. But we're in it for our producers and giving the world a chance to fight climate change etc. You only need to hear about the impact of the lock down in India to be reminded how much selling stuff made fairly in these countries is so important. Our producers need us more than ever.
I am confident that the shop will survive this. We have applied for the business grant from the council which should see £25 000 arriving in our account in the next 10 days or so. Also, having spoken to all our paid staff, we made the decision to furlough everyone except Edina. This means we will get 80% of furloughed staffs pay from the government. We have made the commitment to continue to top up the 20% so our staff will continue on full wage.We are keeping Edina working so that she can work with me and other volunteers in our new endeavours!
We believe that long term people's shopping habits are going to change, on line shopping is going to be embraced by more people as they do it out of necessity now, but then get used to it. In Italy I'm told that after the initial focus on food people now look to buy presents for loved ones, and for themselves to cheer themselves up. On line shopping is going well.
Unfortunately we had just about finished buying all our spring summer stock when we closed, so our shelves are full. I'm most concerned about our clothing, we have a lot of Nomads and Thought spring summer stock now in the shop.
So as I write this (husband!) David is sitting next to me adding products onto what will be our brand new e-commerce site attached to our current website. And Edina is popping into the shop to contact Suma about deliveries. Initially we will focus on the basics, food and drink and toiletries. We will offer these as a 'click and collect' type option plus for limited delivery locally within Leicester (LE1 LE2 and LE3 to start with). We envisage initially starting with deliveries being offered one day a week and the shop being open for 2 days a week for limited hours, just 11am till 2pm. We will decide which days we open and which day we offer deliveries very soon. We want to factor in things in like Suma delivery days and when the other shops around us are open, namely Current Affairs and Nada plus the indoor and outdoor market.’
So we will be trading again very soon. All be it in a very different way.
As we start doing this, we really don't know what sort of response we'll get, we don't know whether we'll be inundated with orders or receive none! However we do know that for the sake of our producers in the developing world we need to try!