Single Step is a Wholefood shop with a difference and it’s based in Lancaster!
Established in 1976, Single Step sells a wide range of vegetarian and vegan foods, including fresh organic fruit and vegetables, bread, wholefoods, chilled foods, Fairly traded chocolate, alcohol, loose herbs and spices, natural remedies, cards, household cleaning products, and cruelty-free toiletries. It’s also a not-for-profit workers co-operative that prioritises environmental, social and animal welfare issues when sourcing food and other products.
Following in the footsteps of the first co-operatives, it aims to put social and environmental goal s at the heart of the business. It follows the seven internationally agreed principles of co-operation, plus an eighth principle on environmental sustainability. And it is guided by the co-op values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, along with the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
It also tries to support other co-operatives wherever possible. For example many of its products are sourced from Suma Wholefoods, a workers’ co-op based in Yorkshire. Much of its fruit and vegetables are sourced from Organic North Wholesalers, a member owned co-operative formed by a group of northern organic businesses in the early 1990s. And it subscribes to Ethical Consumer Magazine, a not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder co-operative founded in 1989.
Single Step tries to offer customers maximum control over portion sizes and minimises packaging by offering a range of loose herbs and spices, dried fruits, nuts pulses and cereals from Suma, and most recently British Organic Quinoa from Hodmedods. All of these, as well as its fruit and veg, can be carried in paper bags. It also sells in bulk at a discount on request and offers biodegradable toothbrushes and refills of washing up liquid, laundry liquid, multi surface cleaners, handsoap, shampoos and conditioners.
As Single Step is not-for-profit and therefore doesn’t have to add on a profit for investors, it can keep costs down. It also offers a 10% discount to pensioners.
The shop also offers a well-used and free noticeboard for people offering services, seeking accommodation or wishing to pass on unwanted items; and provides a space for information about local and global events and campaigns that may be of interest to its customers.
If you haven’t visited before, Single Step can be found below the Whailtail café at 78a Penny Street, Lancaster, LA1 1XN. You can also find out more by giving the shop a call on 01524 63021.
Single Step has also started to offer a home delivery service for a small fee to the LA1 area. Deliveries are made by bike or car and orders can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or placed over the phone.