The People's Supermarket is designed to offer an alternative use for the thousands of empty retail units on our high streets and counter the belief that you can only have either cheap or good food - and never both.
Over the last few months, Arthur, me and a Panzer division of people working in design, retailing, property and project management in the U.K. have been working up plans for the new social enterprise.
The supermarket is inspired by the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn that was started in 1973 and now has 17,000 members, offers them a saving of 20%-40% off their weekly grocery bill and enjoys a turnover of $32m.
Anyone will be able to shop at The People's Supermarket. You'll find our shelves stacked with a wide range of product, from conventional breakfast cereal to locally sourced produce, seven days a week.
For an annual fee of UK£25.00 ($41.00) - reduced for older citizens, the unemployed and students - and a commitment to volunteer four hours time per month, members will earn a discount on their shopping and a share and role in the management of the enterprise.
The People's Supermarket is about a great shopping experience, collectivizing the enthusiasm and skill of its members, direct democracy and affordability through participation.
Just take a look at the message board at Park Slope to see the value of "a shop that you can call your own":
We're hoping to raise thousands of members.
We're creating a simple product that we hope other entrepreneurs, communities and people across the U.K. will copy.
And we are looking right now at several different empty retail units in the U.K. - here's an image of one, but I can't reveal the location, since it will simply inflate its price.
The People's Supermarket connects with the growing band of people interested in supporting innovation in recession.
And it expresses utopia, resilience and the power of mutuality.
If the answer's "yes", become a member of The People's Supermarket or lend us your support and register at our new website.
Please show link love and pass this post on.
If you want to get involved, just drop me a comment here.
And if you know a philanthropist or investor who wants to support innovative, collective and profitable social enterprise, send them my way.
The blood, sweat and (let's say) joy of securing the premises, forming the co-op and members' first experiences of running the enterprise will be the subject of a series of prime-time shows on Channel 4 Television in 2010.
And The People's Supermarket will be published in a book, available in all good stores, featuring recipes created by Arthur from ingredients for sale.
Images courtesy of Elizabeth Pascoe, Park Slope Coop, Heather Ring, APD and Marcus Foley.