Exeter’s Real Food Store is re-opening its doors next week after over two months of closure during the Covid-19 crisis.
The re-opening on Tuesday June 9 comes ten years after the business set out to secure support and funding from the Exeter community to establish the business.
To mark the occasion, the team at the Real Food Store have made significant changes to the shop on Queen Street during the quiet period. The team contacted members and ran a ‘Call for Ideas’ campaign via email and social media, giving customers and other stakeholders the chance to influence how the shop moves forward.
David Mezzetti, who holds a voluntary post as Chair of the Real Food Store, said: “We’ve made use of the down time to make exciting changes to the store.
“A revamped electronic point of sale (EPOS) system installed, new air-conditioning installed, significant health and safety measures embedded, preparations for a click-and-collect service now being planned, a new store layout, a grab-and-go-chiller – perfect for the train or a snack in Northernhay Gardens – and above all a ‘buy-in’ by all colleagues to a new Real Food story that expresses in challenging times our original purpose. Come and see us.”
The Real Food Store is the trading name of a Community Benefit Society which has around 300 members. With a flat management structure and community ownership, it aims to boost the development of Exeter’s local food economy by connecting customers with local sustainable suppliers.
Among its suppliers are Topsham-based Good Game and Teignmouth-based Shute Fruit – both Gold Champions at the Taste of the West Awards 2019. Shillingford Organics, winners of the prestigious Best of Organic Markets (BOOM) Awards, supply the store with seasonal fruit and vegetables. Emma’s Bread, mentioned in a recent article by the nation-wide Real Bread Campaign, supplies the Real Food Store with fresh loaves each day.
Veronika Mikulova, a co-manager at the Real Food Store who has been involved with much of the renovation of the shop, said: “Our team is delighted that the Real Food Store is re-opening, and not just as it was before but in a new improved capacity.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming customers back to the store and showing them what we have achieved. We are proud to provide our customers with local, quality produce from sustainable suppliers, and can’t wait to re-open our doors next week.”
The Real Food Store re-opens on Tuesday June 9 and is open from 10.00 – 14.00.