Monthly Archives: March 2013

Pitch for prime Portas Pilot retail – Greens of Lincolnshire is on the market

Awarded 9/10 and declared “absolutely brilliant” by Mary Portas in her Saturday Telegraph
column
, two weeks ago, Greens of Lincolnshire, Market Rasen’s highly acclaimed fresh and local fruit and veg shop, is now being offered as a business opportunity to whoever can show the leadership and vision to guarantee its success.

Mary Portas in Greens of Lincolnshire

Mary Portas sampling the fresh local produce in Greens of Lincolnshire, during her visit to the town in February 2013

Launched last December with funds from Market Rasen’s winning Portas Pilot bid to plug a gap on the high street, Greens is already so much more than just a fruit and veg shop. Described by the Queen of Shops as “chic and appetising”, this prime spot on Queen Street is beautifully merchandised with baskets of locally sourced fresh produce and the best of Lincolnshire artisan foods. Jams and chutneys, sauces, herbs, pickles, oils and spices are displayed to stunning effect on shabby chic dressers and crates, with local cheeses, salads, soups and quiches filling the chiller and fresh daily breads, cakes and quiches, all delivered by a loyal, established supplier base.

9 out of 10 for Greens of Lincolnshire

Mary Portas Queen of Shops gives Greens of Lincolnshire 9 out of 10 in her column in Saturday Telegraph Magazine

In addition to excellent footfall, Greens has a successful box scheme delivering weekly £10 and £15 fruit and veg boxes for an additional fee for customers who can’t make it on to the high street. Already a Select Lincolnshire member and destination store, there is huge potential to develop this business and expand the overall offer.

“One of they key promises in our original town transformation plan was sustainable shopping,” explains MR BIG Chair, Sara Scott.

“So whilst we’ve been happy to get Greens on its feet as a must-have part of our High Street offer, it’s time for our team to move on and look at more innovative ways to fill empty premises with vital services that drive footfall for other retailers and create opportunities in our community.”

Richard Hallsworth, BIG Finance Director also commented “We are particularly interested in passing this over to a Social enterprise, run for the community, by the community.  But we are also happy to receive interest from private parties with the passion to ensure the success of this vital retail anchor on our high street.”

Sara adds ” Yes we are breaking the mould. But this isn’t a money making initiative. We set up Greens to fill a gap on the high street and to create a home for local artisan produce. We want the shop to be a success – but our team was never intended to become shopkeepers. So Greens is on the market – the ‘sale’ may enable us to recoup some of the Portas monies invested – which in turn would enable us to continue to target other much needed transformative projects on the high street. The big picture being to drive the additional footfall that spells success for all Rasen’s retailers and businesses.

“As per our EOI notice – we’re keen to see Greens pass to another social enterprise and we’d flex terms to make this as easy and achieveable as possible.  But we’re mindful of the fact that this might not be realistic – and so happy to consider interest from commercially minded people, on commercial terms.

“The biggest consideration for us will be whether or not the interested parties or groups have the vision and determination to see Greens succeed for the long term.  We want Lincolnshire people to be able to buy the finest Lincolnshire produce direct from the High Street.”

Jayne Cartwright, Charity Retail Consultant tweets about Mary's Greens article

Jayne Cartwright, Charity Retail Consultant tweets about Mary’s Greens article. She is a great support of Mr Big

Mary Portas says there’s only one way to save our high streets – get involved. So do you have the passion and desire to step up and build on Green’s phenomenal success and help sustain the revitalisation of Market Rasen?

For more information please email MR BIG Town Centre Manager Nicola Marshall mrbigtowncentremanager@hotmail.com

Shortlisted candidates will asked to pitch their business plan and vision to a panel of 3 MR BIG directors.

Expressions of interest deadline 5pm Friday 5th April.