Stalls

A lot of food co-ops run stalls that are set up on temporary basis in a variety of locations such as community centres, schools, church halls, or outside on the street.

Stalls generally only run one day a week for a few hours but can be held more or less often depending on demand. You may be able to get your supplier to deliver direct to the venue where the stall is running. However if you want to buy direct from a wholesale market you will probably need your own vehicle to collect the produce yourself.

Generally with stalls a lot of the produce is sold loose by weight so you will need a set of weighing scales. You can also pre-weigh items and sell them in bags labelled with the weight (see Trading standards for more information). Stalls usually supply quite a wide range of produce, so if you were selling fruit and vegetables you would probably aim to have at least fifteen varieties. If you are running a stall indoors this usually involves laying out baskets or boxes of different produce on tables. If you are outdoors you would probably want a sturdier structure.

The main advantage of a stall is that customers can pick and choose exactly the varieties and amounts they want. This means that you are more likely to appeal to a wider range of customers and can supply a much wider range of foods. You can include more exotic or unusual varieties if there is a demand for this in your area.
 
The main disadvantage of a stall is that you are more likely to have waste produce at the end of the session, as it's very hard to predict exactly how much you will sell. You will need some way to deal with your leftover stock, such as selling it at a discount or giving it away to a cookery group. When running a stall, it's a good idea to have quite a lot of stock with a wide range of produce on sale to ensure the stall looks attractive. So in general, stalls work better when you have a larger number of customers.

However it does take longer to serve customers as you have to weigh everything out and calculate how much it costs. You will also spend longer cashing up at the end of trading, and in turn keeping accurate records is more complicated. BAs a result you may need more help from volunteers to run the stalls and their role will be a bit more challenging as it may involve adding up or using a till.


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