New Freshwater food store is flagship for local flavours

IW CheeseCommitment to supporting the Isle of Wight’s community and economy is the
driving force behind the opening of The Southern Co-operative’s brand new
store in Freshwater.

Twice the size of its existing store this new store in Afton Road will be The Southern
Co-operative’s flagship store for its Local Flavours range, stocking food
and drink from over 35 Isle of Wight growers and producers. Kate Hibbert,
The Southern Co-operative’s Local Sourcing Manager, explained: “The Isle of
Wight is renowned for its quality and diversity of local produce and is
where our popular Local Flavours range originated nine years ago; this
range has now extended to Hampshire, Sussex and across southern England as
demand has increased, promoting local distinctiveness and offering valuable
support to local food producers and suppliers.”

A dedicated ‘Fresh from the Island’ counter will offer locally sourced
meat, fish, cheese, savoury pies and more. Island suppliers include The
Tomato Stall, Isle of Wight Cheese Company,  Island
Bread Company and Goddard’s Brewery. Free Local Flavours tastings will be
held regularly in store to enable customers to try new products from the
extensive range and encourage them to support local food.

30 jobs for local people have been created and the team from the existing Freshwater store will transfer to the new site in Afton Road. As a co-operative, the store has a purpose beyond
profit and its success is not measured purely by its commercial success, as
Tony McGuinness, the store’s General Manager, explained: “It’s really
important to all of us here that the store is at the hub of the local
community and with our new store opening, we want to continue the strong
relationship that we have with our customers and local organisations.”

This has included donations over the past five years, totalling over £100,000
community support funding, to local groups including FYTbus community bus
service, Freshwater Memorial Hall,  West Wight Sports Centre and All Saints CE Primary School.

As well as a dedicated bus stop outside the store for the community FYTbus, customers
can use a free customer taxi phone located in the community hub, where
local news and activities, together with information for members of The
Southern Co-operative will also be available. A defibrillator has been
fitted on the store’s exterior wall for emergency medical use by the

General Post Office services are available seven days a week during store opening hours
(7am-10pm Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm Sunday), in addition to a larger
main Post Office area within the new store open Monday- Saturday from

Consideration for the local environment has also been a priority. All store
waste will be sent for recycling at anaerobic digestion or energy-from-waste facility. The car park
surface is permeable to absorb rainfall and minimise puddles, and
landscaping is designed to attract wildlife and enhance their habitat
through planting and the inclusion of bat boxes and nesting sparrow
terraces. Inside, water efficient measures such as low flow WCs, taps and
showers will offer up to 40% water saving, low energy LED lighting and
occupancy sensors will minimise lighting use and the building management
system makes for more efficient refrigeration, heating and lighting,
reducing energy consumption. All electricity used by the store comes from
renewable sources through a green energy contract and customers with
electric vehicles can recharge these as well as take advantage of dedicated
parking spaces.

The Southern Co-operative’s new store in Afton Road, which opens on
Thursday 10 September at 10am, is the latest opening for the independent
regional retailer which, including 10 community food stores on the Isle of Wight.