A bakery producing sourdough breads and homemade cakes is set to be at the heart of a new local food shop and café in Exeter, which is to be financed entirely with investment from the local community.
A community share offer was launched earlier this month to raise £190,000-worth of funding for the Real Food Store, which is planned to open in October at a 2,400sq ft, three-storey site in Exeter city centre.
A 300sq ft open bakery, leased to local bakery company Emma’s Bread, will be a key feature of the new community-owned enterprise, supplying the shop and the café with bread, cakes and pastries.
The project, which has grown out of work by community group Transition Exeter, is headed up by eight local people, who have a mix of expertise and professional skills, including Emma Parkin, owner of Emma’s Bread.
Local residents are being encouraged to buy shares in the shop, with a minimum investment of £100 and a maximum of £20,000, with a dividend expected to be paid after three years of trading. Around 130 people attended the launch of the community share offer on 10 June. The offer is due to close on 23 July.
“There are lots of coffee shop chains in Exeter, but nowhere where you can sit and eat cake straight from the oven; where people can see, hear and smell their bread being made,” said Parkin. “By raising funding through the community, people will hopefully feel connected to the business and will be keen to support it.”