When we launched we were faced with a dilemma and there were two choices really, lock it all up in a big yellow storage box or open a wine store. Fortunately, we chose the latter and we ended up with a small retail premises that’s only 20 minutes by direct train from London Waterloo, on Central Road in the neighbourly and bustling main street in Worcester Park. With highly rated schools, a thriving high street full of independent shops and restaurants and local customers who all believe in shopping local!
Like all of our wines, no 40 Central Road has its own special story to tell and there’s a lot more behind the glass façade and every changing window display. With what was an empty shell, it was renovated, painted, plastered and plumbed by Alex, one of our founders, who’s never really ever done DIY in his life. It’s a little rough around the edges, but then again you know the purpose of the store is to showcase our organic wines, not his painting skills!
In the 2 years we have been there we have undertaken a huge number of activities, launched a monthly Wine & Tapas Club, collaborated with a number of local businesses and we have managed to get involved with a number of good local causes, schools and become a sponsor of the local non-league football club.
Starting a business isn’t an easy or quick process, and we did a lot of research! For us that meant lots of reading and we ended up with a lot of non-fiction books lying around. We decided that we would work with a local blogger and try to make sure that we put them to even further good use and we made a donation of books to one of the local libraries. This meant a donation of £1500 worth of non-fiction books to the local library.
However possibly the most rewarding and fulfilling, was introducing a voluntary fee of 5p for paper carrier bags to match the supermarkets. We introduced this to raise money so that we could work with the local authority to replant parts of the high street at ground level so that we could help do something with the higher levels of pollution and CO2 emissions from the jam packed main road. As the main thorough-fare to and from London in the south west, this road never sleeps, making this one of the dirtiest in London and an almost permanent feature on an unfortunate list created by the Mayor of London.
To date we have successfully managed to raise over £500!
We have also worked with a few national charities such as Sane and made donations to raise funds for institutions like the school of English National Ballet and Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, where we adopted the loveable but loud Lucky!
Sponsorship arrangements with Ellen MacArthur Foundation for their ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative which is backed by the talented British designer Stella Mccartney was a proud moment and choosing to shun Black Friday over the last 2 years was another. Having yet another ‘holiday’ to celebrate and offer discounts isn’t doing anything to help save our local high streets, so our philosophy was that if we are going to lose money we’d rather lose it to a good cause. So instead of discounts we have donated part of that day’s sales to charities such as Cyber Smile, who assist and offer much needed support to victims of cyber bullying.
Considering that the British High Street is dying, we have also become retail advisory board members of the flourishing organisation, Save The High Street, who are enabling local and independent businesses to come together with one louder, more powerful voice, so that we can take advantage of the big advertising companies and their usually unachievable pricing and ads scale, whilst offering support on funding, technology and visibility online via the internet’s all-seeing eye that is Google! It was truly a privilege to speak in 2017 at their first annual conference in 2017.
With some of our wines we feel that we also need to share our joy and success, so we've again decided to donate proceeds from sales of 2 of our wines to these charities:
10% of sales from Il Terraio by Paterna, Tuscany, Italy is donated to MIND the mental health charity.
10% of sales from all English wines to Sutton Giving.
The Business Improvement District (B.I.D) was created by central government as a way to hand pack power to local business so that they can work together for their unique and collective goals. Across the country there has been several thousand BID’s that have all been successful and helped to recreate busy and bustling town and village centres, hubs that are able to gain access to greater funding for events, advertising, technological advances on the High Street and also to make them cleaner, greener and safer. Like Worcester Park really shouldn’t be any different!
They have been proven to help reduce crime, increase footfall and have given a heart and soul back to local communities which has helped with the growing social issues we face in today’s crazy, cash-strapped and lonely world. At Organic Wine Club, we are proud to say that we support our local BID and cannot wait for the results of the vote and get stuck in!
Organic wine and football, very possibly the oddest combination that is unusual and it’s fair to say has raised a few eyebrows. But we say why not, why can’t we offer to share our success with an incredible local team to help allow talent and youth to shine through. Plus, it’s also a viable reason to close up early on a Saturday afternoon to get down the park, watch the match and grab a beer!
Led by their Player Manager Tim, Worcester Park F.C. have gained a well-deserved reputation for being leaders in their community, supporting local causes and getting involved with having a good laugh at themselves. If you don’t believe me, have a look at their Facebook and Twitter pages!
With the football team, sadly for the moment there is only men’s teams for adults. But we would love to get involved with equalling this and one of the next things we’d love to get involved with is the Worcester Park Lions, the local women’s netball team!
Monday 3pm - 8pm
Thursday 3pm - 8pm
Friday 3pm - 8pm
Saturday 12 noon - 7pm
Organic Wine Club
40 Central Road
020 8337 3427