The Shop and the Future

So it happened, the shop is open. We opened the doors on the 4th of May and since then its been a whirlwind of activity. I haven’t had time to sit down and type up a blog in god knows how long but I’m happy to say that I’m – obviously – doing it right now. The main reason why I wanted to get something written down was to promote the Crowdfund we launched on Monday, 15th July 2019. The next 4 weeks are going to be so nerve wrecking, I am probably going to have no nails by the end of it. But I feel its so important to get the ball rolling and keep moving forward with The Green Scoop.

But before I get into all of that. Let’s recap on a few things.

I started on this business owning journey last year when I started researching my potential audience and began writing up my business plan. I received help from Big Ideas Wales, a fantastic organisation that helps young folk like me set up their businesses. My business advisor helped me get my business plan top notch and put it forward to the Start Up Loan Company. Yep, I got a loan – a £19,000 loan to be exact – to be paid back over 5 years. Hopefully you can tell how determined I was to get this shop opened, to go for that amount of money, on my own, with nothing but a big idea and a lot of guts. But I did, the loan was approved and about a month later I was handed the keys to my shop.

It was an amazing moment, I cant describe to you how thrilled I was. As soon as I got the key code, I hot footed it over here, trembling fingers fumbled with the key code box and then I had them, my keys. Oh my gosh, I’m getting nervous excited just thinking about it now – a good four or so months later. It was an awesome moment.

My Keys! A bit grubby but still wonderful!

So then we launched straight into getting set up. Sourcing materials, painting walls, ripping up the carpet tiles (the tiles are safe and stored in the basement, didn’t go to the tip) and figuring out exactly where everything was to go.

We had a minor blip when the scaffolding boards we ordered weren’t coming anymore and we had to source an alternative. Which actually turned into a great thing because we found these amazing floor boards and pitch pine panels which worked into the overall look of the shop really well.

I couldn’t have done it without my sister, Cerys and my dad (Plus loads of other people). They helped me put the shop together. I couldn’t have power washed all those boards, sanded them all and put it all together on my own. Cerys is hard working and Dad has skills and power tools. I don’t think the shop would look as awesome as it does if I hadn’t received their help. I’m eternally grateful.

So after a lot of hard work, some tears and a couple of minor finger injuries – we were done! It felt like we had been doing it for years but the same time like no time had passed at all. The Shop was finished, the tubs were washed, dried and filled, the jars shiny and the veg crates full. All our stock were out and all I had to do was swing those doors open on the 4th of May at 9 o’clock.

What a day that was. You could barely move from the amount of people that were in here. It was a hive of activity. It was amazing… and every day since then has been just as awesome. Adjusting to the way of the shop has been difficult but not to a point where I regret any of this.

I do not regret a thing!! By far the best thing I have ever done in my life. I love it. I’d do it all again!

We’ve been open for 11 weeks now. 11 whole weeks. Where has the time flown? It’s been brilliant. Looking forward to every week to come.

But enough of the gushing.

The next stage of the business is to open a Zero Waste and Sustainable cafe in the shop itself. But not just any cafe! A community space where we can host workshops, community groups and encourage people to learn new skills, take up hobby’s and connect with each other. One of the more important things we want to do is start a pay-it-forward scheme to help those in need.

A pay-It-Forward scheme works by someone paying for a meal and/or drink that then gets reserved for someone to use when they cant afford to pay for it themselves. Brilliant right? That’s why we want to do it.

In order for us to be able to do that, we need to raise £16,500.

Yep, I know. What a number. That’s as far down as I could get it as well. We’ve taken over a building that used to be a bank so there is no catering kitchen or special equipment. We have a sink and a cupboard, thats it. To make it even more difficult. We’ve only got 4 weeks to raise this amount. And today, (Day 5 – Friday, at time of typing) we’ve only got £575.

But that’s brilliant! It shows that there are people out there that believe in our project and what we want to bring to Carmarthen! I’m determined to keep the ball rolling, to gather momentum and surge forward to our goal! We CAN do it!

And you can help. By pledging, sharing, liking, commenting, shouting about it and encouraging others to pledge what they can as well. 50 people pledging £10 is £500 – 100 people pledging £20 is £2000! Simple maths but you get the idea. You don’t have to be a massive giver – just your small contribution can result in a huge impact.

If you want to pledge today, you can at – www.crowdfunder.co.uk/community-hub-cafe-the-green-scoop

Thanks for reading my waffling!

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