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We’ve been supporting businesses owned by their employees for over 40 years.
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Co-ops we've helped
Co-op workers get a pay rise!
One of the leading UK wholesalers of organic and Fairtrade products has gone from strength to strength with financial support from Co-operative & Community Finance.
Essential Trading in Bristol manufactures and distributes sustainable wholefoods, ecological household products and cruelty-free body care items across Europe and internationally. It stocks over 5,000 product lines.
Essential Trading is a workers’ co-operative with 75 members. It was set up in 1991 by the merger of two wholefood co-ops in Bristol and Bath (Harvest and Nova). Harvest Foods had been trading since 1971 and the name is still used for Essential’s two retail outlets.
The merger was successful and Essential Trading has grown steadily, helped at key stages with loans from Co-operative & Community Finance. The most recent loan was to rebuild and expand the storage facilities for chilled and frozen foods in its warehouse.
Since then, they have just completed building new offices within the warehouse, purchased new packaging machines and best of all … given all co-op members a pay rise!
Richard Crook, Essential’s Finance Co-Director, explained: “We have doubled our cold storage capacity and replaced all the units with more energy-efficient equipment. We were planning this for some time and it’s coincided with a significant upturn in sales. ”
Ian Rothwell, C&CF’s Investment Manager, said: “Essential Trading, and the two co-ops that merged to create it, are one of our longest established borrowers. We’ve helped to finance various expansions over the years and we’re delighted to do it again. This is a very successful workers’ co-operative.”Register Your Interest
The loan means we can concentrate on the day job rather than juggling the cash.
– Finance Director Catherine Maciocia, Specialised Castings
I absolutely believe that employee-ownership brings out the best in our staff.
– Managing Director Daran Brown, School Trends