Review – hiSbe Ethical Supermarket
hiSbe stands for ‘How It Should Be’ and this is very much the motto of the new ethical and fair-trade inspired supermarket that has opened on York Place, opposite St Peter’s Church.
The social start up has been years in the making and is the brain-child of sister team Ruth and Amy Anslow with operational tasks headed up by Jack Simmonds. hiSbe runs as a self-funded CIC (Community Interest Company) which essentially means the company is funded and run by the local community and beyond. Of course, this attributes to the exceptional business model that puts the local people and community first. An innovative and bar raising idea from the team.
Via a mixture of crowd funding, loans and equity from local people, building work began on hiSbe and the grand opening took place in mid December to a fan-fare of positive feedback from across the city and beyond.
The ethos of hiSbe is to greatly different to the high street supermarkets and larger chain stores. With a focus on bringing in locally farmed produce, including fresh fruit and vegetables from across Sussex as well as trading fairly and ethically with other suppliers, the hiSbe store is packed with a diverse and honest selection of everyday goods for all types of shopper.
Stocking everything from baked beans through to juices, meat through to cake, hiSbe has plenty on offer and welcomes you to browse, chat and even grab a coffee in its pilot store. Yes, that’s right, Cafe Direct coffee is served from £1.50 with all mark up and profit going straight back into the supermarket to help it grow and expand. There is also a juice bar served fruit concoctions to quench thirst and take care of wellbeing.
Customer feedback is imperative to the stores success and Jack informs me that the opening weeks can be challenging in terms of stocking what consumers want and need to buy due to the mild trial and error process of sourcing and stocking a brand new supermarket. However, rest assured that customers are always listened to and the team really do value the feedback given.
Co-owner Ruth stated “we’re about high welfare, locally sourced produce and a company who supports their staff as well as the local community. We are a supermarket that is standing up for how it should be”
Revolutionising the supermarket model is no mean feat but as born and bred Brightonian, I personally feel that our city is the ideal destination for such a fantastic and ethical enterprise.
Originally printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent Newspaper 20/12/13
Words and photographs by Claire Beveridge