Peter Couchman is the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Plunkett Foundation is the organisation which promotes and supports co-operative and social enterprises in rural communities both in the UK and internationally. It provides support, networks and knowledge which offers practical solutions for rural communities that helps to create thriving places where people live and work now and in the future.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Community retailing North and South of the border

It was a huge pleasure last week to go up to Scotland for the AGM of the Community Retailing Network. CRN has been doing great work in Scotland to support community-owned since 2004. We've been discussing some time about how CRN and Plunkett could work closer together and last week was an important step forward. I joined its board together with our trustee John Don and we hope that our members will put a CRN Board member onto the Plunkett Board at our AGM.

There is tremendous potential benefit for both countries. Although both have community-owned shops, they are two quite different traditions. Scottish shops tend to be larger and further away from the competition, with the logistics of this often solved by a close working relationship with the Co-operative Group. English stores are more numerous and will often face strong local competition. This has often resulted in some leading edge retailing and marketing to create a real co-operative difference.

Each can learn from the other and it is going to be fun having time to explore this together.

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