Lyttel Piko Organic Store
By Jessica Rowe
The Lyttelton community has rallied together to save the only grocery store left in the quake-hit port town.
They have put up more than $50,000 to buy the Lyttel Piko Organic Store on London Street, making it a co-operative business.
It is the only grocery store still standing in Lyttelton after the February quake, and now it is owned by the community for the community.
“We had to find a way to keep the shop here, and I’ve been familiar with co-operatives overseas mainly, and I thought ‘well this is a perfect community to try it in’,” says managing director Brian RickPiko Wholefoods was planning to close its small Lyttelton shop after the quakes, and focus on its larger home store in town - so the community decided to set up a co-operative.
One hundred and twenty people, most of them locals, each bought a $365 share in that shop. That is about half the purchase price - and profits and more investors should pay the balance over the next two years.
“It’s really important to our community and I think the more we can bring the ownership and the opportunity to the local people in the community the better off we are,” says shareholder Sarah van der Burch.
“People that buy are part of this co-op as are people that sell produce,” says Margaret Jefferies, another shareholder.
Once the store is making a profit, dividends will be paid back to its shareholders and more people are expected to buy into the store once it is up and running.
It is also planning on offering shares to its suppliers, helping to build a more resilient local economy.