‘Supermarket Rebels’ launch £450,000 crowdfunding campaign to fund second store


Brighton-based sustainable supermarket HISBE (standing for How It Should Be) is targeting a £450,000 bond raise through an investment crowdfunding campaign on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform.

HISBE’s stated mission as ‘supermarket rebels’ is to ‘transform the food industry, by reinventing the way supermarkets do business’.

Ruth Anslow, who launched HISBE’s first store in Brighton in 2013 with her sister Amy and their friend Jack, says: Much of the UK food industry is reliant on intensive industrialized food production and cheap food produced with little regard for the environmental or social costs which have to be paid by society as a whole. The result has created a wasteful food system that is unsustainable.”

From the outset, HISBE has done things differently. While offering a ‘full shop’ experience, it doesn’t stock any global brands – instead, specializing in more ethical and considered versions of everyday products.

As a community interest company (CIC) HISBE has impact embedded into its governance and financing structure as well as through its operations and activities. This means:

  • HISBE does not make big pay-outs to shareholders or directors; instead it puts money back into making the prices fair for customers and paying suppliers fairly
  • HISBE staff all get contracted hours, paid the real living wage and a 20% discount off their shopping. HISBE does not do zero-hour contracts or unpaid breaks
  • HISBE invests back into the local economy. For every £1 HISBE spends, 58p is spent locally (in Sussex) on stock, wages and services.

The bond will pay 5% gross interest per year for its seven-year term. As with all investments, capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed.

HISBE’s first store in Brighton has been open since 2013 and now has turnover of £1.8 million. It has now secured a site for the new store in nearby Worthing and plans for it to open for business this summer. The crowdfunding campaign will raise money to fund the fit-out of the shop, provide working capital and cover the anticipated first year trading loss for the Worthing store. With a second shop, HISBE says it can scale the operation and reach financial stability.

“…expanding to our second shop is something we have been working hard on for more than two years”

Anslow continues: “We’re really excited by this opportunity, we have a great site secured in Worthing and expanding to our second shop is something we have been working hard on for more than two years. We created HISBE to transform the UK’s food industry, because right now it just isn’t sustainable. We think supermarkets can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem and we are on a mission to reinvent the way supermarkets do business. We want to show that it is possible to buck convention and break the mould.” 

Dan Hird, head of corporate finance at Triodos Bank UK, comments: Triodos is an ethical and sustainable bank and we offer a more conscious approach to finance and banking. HISBE is doing much the same, making it easier for people to consume in a more sustainable way. It’s great that HISBE is ready to expand and we are delighted to be raising the capital to support it.” 

Main image: HISBE co-founders Ruth Anslow, Amy Anslow and JackSimmonds