Minutes of open meeting Thursday 23 May 2013

The meeting was attended by the bookshop steering committee and supporters. Twenty apologies for absence were received – it was the start of a bank holiday weekend.

Committee: Viv Taylor Gee, chair, Hugo Gorst Williams, Lindsay Napier, Susie O’Reilly, Carol Rahn, Adrian Sarson (Apologies from:John Kahn, pro bono lawyer, Chris Savory, treasurer)

Purpose of meeting

1. To share progress
2. To discuss the bookshop’s name
3. To broaden the launch team
4. To agree next steps

1. Progress

Report on progress made since first open meeting on 18 March. The core steering committee has made progress in matters financial and legal, and on where the bookshop will be, what it will do, and how it will do it. The committee has been on a steep learning curve, involving a great deal of fact-finding and networking. We have received a lot of support and ideas! The committee will be added to in the next few months, as there is a lot to do.

  • A paper on the bookshop vision has been drafted and will be posted on the web site.
  • This is to be submitted to the Community Enterprise Hub, who offer four days of free support in the technical and business process.
  • The firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has kindly offered to advise us on legal matters pro bono, and a letter of engagement has been signed.
  • The governance structure has been agreed– the most likely option is to become an industrial and provident society, sponsored by Cooperatives UK.
  • Discussions have been held with GLL re space kindly offered to us in Northcote Library, probably the mezzanine floor, and on how we will work together.
  • Other bookshops have been visited or talked to, some of them community bookshops, to glean advice, experience and ideas on what works best.
  • An application has been made to the Wandsworth ‘Big Society’ fund for £5000 seed money.
  • Progress has been made with drafting the preliminary 5 year business plan: key features include a rent-free (for the first year) space in library; the target turnover will be £100-150,000 p.a; we aim to break even in Year 1; we aim to raise start-up capital of £50 – 80,000 from community share offer and donors; we will employ a full-time manager, and we aim to open in the autumn of 2013, to catch the all-important Christmas trade.

2. Naming the bookshop

The current name is Northcote Books, with the underlying strapline, “For the community, by the community”. Should we change it? General principles were identified.

  • The name should be distinctive, consisting of three/four words which should be memorable, possibly quirky, and ideally convey a sense of quality.
  • It should be clear that this is a shop and not part of the library – the bookshop and library are two distinct organisations working collaboratively. Therefore it may be important to include the word “Bookshop’ in the name!
  • Would be good to convey a sense of where we are, and perhaps a historical link
  • Lends itself to the creation of a logo, or logotype
  • Strap line, along the lines of An independent, community bookshop on the Northcote Road, SW11 (NB Northcote Road is now a good brand)

Particular names were suggested. Decided we should ask our supporters for their views, and then move to a DECISION!

3. Broadening the launch team

While the legal, financial and design nuts and bolts are sorted out, a communications and fund-raising team needs to be quickly set up in preparation for our share launch, since the share issue is all-important. Unless it succeeds in raising over £50,000, the bookshop cannot exist. There are many other functions for which we would really welcome help, so supporters are really encouraged to contact us to talk about what they are prepared to do, and join us.

All present to forward names of contacts who might be interested or who could be helpful to us to contact viv@europe.com especially to include potential donors, people with experience in communications/marketing to promote the all-important share offer through social media, website, local and national press, local magazines, fundraising dinners, networking, etc. Donors can be personal or corporate.

4. Next steps

1. Set up communications team see above

2. Northcote Road Fete, 7 July – Viv, Hugo, Lindsay. Viv will register our participation. Hugo will liaise with Matt of Northcote Road Traders Association and Diana Edmonds, GLL, re details of site, stall, stocking and work with Lindsey to sort out a team to run the stall on the day’

3. Research for business plan – Carol to continue work on this, with our treasurer Chris Savory.

4. Carol and Chris to liaise with John Kahn re next steps on application to the Financial Conduct Authority to become an Industrial Provident Society.

5. Training – Susie and Viv to attend Bookshop Association course,“ Running a Bookshop”, 6 June with two members of GLL team.

6. Establishing firm details of library offer – Carol and Hugo.To meet with Diana Edmonds to agree bookshop location and specifics of partnership.

7. Vision paper to be finalized – Lindsey to finalise and circulate version 5 to steering committee- Viv to upload and apply to Community Enterprise Hub.

8. Final vision paper to be uploaded to web site – web master Daniel Everard.



Northcote Books