Wow! It’s been a whole year since we packed our bags and moved into the big old building up the road. A lot has happened since we held our grand opening on the 9th November 2019 and now seems as good a time as any to stop and reflect on the past year.
Months of ferrying back and forth, teetering over the line of Crookes valley and Barber road built up to that brisk November day. The atmosphere was buzzing with the café flying out cakes and coffees and ‘Le Shig’ in the main shop busting out the celebration tunes and Madame Zucchini creating vegetable characters… it really was a momentous occasion.
The fruit and vegetables have taken a big breath out and filled every corner of the first two rooms as you walk into the shop.
With more space came more opportunities. We were able to increase our product range in all areas making it more varied than ever. This includes our new and exciting refill section for whole foods and household cleaning products and a window bay designated for gifts and health & beauty.
A special thank you to Guy Duke who converted the shop and cafe into what they are today by fitting in fantastic shelves, countertops and the cafe kitchen.
Matt’s also been hard at work making the surrounding gardens full of colour and life.
Moving into what used to be a Dentist and Doctor’s Surgery also bought along a smaller building next door, which was once a Chemist. This extra space has been hugely valuable as a hub for our organic box delivery scheme.
With the back of the Pharmacy building as a box packing land, we decided to turn the front half into Beanies’ very own café. This was a completely new venture for us and boy did we learn a lot along the way.. from Barista training, to running a busy café in the day and hosting special events in the evening. It felt great to provide a welcoming space for customers (and staff!) to come in and relax with a hot cup of coffee and home cooked food by Nicky Harris who worked her magic to showcase all of the wonderous fresh produce.
We, like so many others, have been through big changes in order to navigate and adapt to recent difficult times. It’s safe to say that none of us foresaw Covid-19 at the other side of the new year. In mid-March we decided to close the café to focus on the shop and the growing demands for deliveries. Shortly after, we also closed the shop doors and decided to run as a collection service only. This gave us the much needed time to consider how we could best manage under the new circumstances.
We have been able to increase our deliveries of veg boxes by 85% and fruit boxes by a whopping 100% (go Gemma!). Without the bigger space the new place offered it would not have been possible for us to keep the plates spinning as we have whilst adding on an extra 3 delivery rounds to make a total of 10 going out a week.
As Summer was in full swing we felt ready to open up the shop again. A one way system was introduced and perspex screens put up. This enabled a safe environment for customers to shop and for staff to work in. It felt so good to have some normality back with some much needed customer interaction. Despite strengthened friendships amongst the Beans, we missed you!
During this time we said goodbye to our wonderful Heather who has been part of the Co-op for 16 years. She really has left an enormous mark on Beanies. Her hard work, strength and kindness continues to be an inspiration for us all. We have made sure to keep in touch and have even had a few surprise visits getting to hear all about her adventures and time spent relaxing and baking.
We have also said goodbye to our brilliant Esther who has just started a masters in Landscape Architecture! She may have stepped down from her Co-op duties but don’t fear, you’ll still be seeing her smiley face around the shop a couple shifts a week!
Since the move, the Co-op has grown even more to a total of 13 members: Chris, Gemma, Evan, Dave, Rachael, Bob, Isabella, Charlotte (who has just had a baby boy named Owen!), Annie, Heather, Rosie, Gwilym and Ella. We also have a fantastic team of part-timers who we really could not do without, their perseverance and adaptability in these ever changing times has been extraordinary.
Ultimately, all of this would not have been possible without our dedicated staff, contractors, customers and those who invested in us through loan stock. We are incredibly grateful for your generosity and support in these exceptional times. A big big thank you from us Beans ♥