We are inviting people to invest in community shares and become a member-owner of October Books, helping us achieve positive social change
by The October Books Team in Southampton, United Kingdom
Get involved in owning a Bookshop in Southampton. The first Community Share offer for the city and an opportunity to be a part of a business that has its community at heart.
October Books has always been a community bookshop, throughout its 45 year history. The communities in Bevois Valley (the early days) and Portswood (for the last 20 years) have had the benefit of a high street space where you can go to learn, meet friends, swap stories, food or recipes as well as purchase books and literature which support a more equitable and just society. We also promote more sustainable ways of being, with our range of organic, vegetarian and vegan foods, low plastic cleaning products, a cleaning liquid refillery, solar panels on our roof and growing spaces at the front and rear of our building. In addition, our new premises has a community space which local groups can hire and where we offer an extensive, free, events programme including book launches, cooking demos, talks and much, much more.
If you want to hear a bit more about our history then have a listen to this podcast created by Power to Change.
We have always been a not-for-profit and any excess that we make is used to increase our offering to our community and to serve the Southampton area - and now you can be a part of it! Whether you are a long standing customer, a passing browser or just love the idea of being involved in a community business we are inviting people to invest in community shares and become a member-owner of our Community Benefit Society (CBS).
We think that the CBS model better reflects October Books current organisation and operation, in that our community is involved in much of the decision making and in the operation of the business. The current worker team feel this is a much more resilient organisational model, which will allow the business to continue to operate for the benefit of the community regardless of the members of the worker team.
October Books wants to continue to create a better now and ignite a passion for a better future in our local community, our High Street, and beyond through Storytelling, Social Change, Learning and Inclusion. We need to raise funds to repay some of the money our community lent us in 2018, when we bought our spectacular new premises. More detail on the reasons and planning behind this refinancing can be found in our Business Plan and Share Offer Document attached below. We do own our High Street premises and it is this that allows us to create this share offer (there is an asset that we own should anything happen to the business).
Our maximum public share offer target is £175,000 plus conversion of £171,346 of existing loan-stock to shares - a total of £346,346 and the share offer will be open from the 1st October 2022 to the 14th November 2022. Our building is valued at £450,000.
Maximum investment: £34,635 (or 10% of the shares issued, whichever is the lesser amount)
Minimum investment: £250
Community shares are described as patient capital and this means that rather than having a set maturity date, the business will only repay them when it is financially viable to do so. This means that those investing in the business have a real incentive to help the business to thrive and prosper. We will be offering interest on our community shares in the same way as we offered interest on our loan-stock for those who took us up on this, a simple annual payment.
Again, there is a real incentive here for Community share holders to support and help the business as, if the business is not doing so well then, the payment of interest can be waived.
Of course, if you need your investment returned there are rules that allow you to do so with three months notice and withdrawal requests will be dealt with in the order in which they are received. The Board of October Books will retain sole discretion to make the decision on these returns. Do have a look at Section 27 of the CBS rules which are on our website for more detail about how this works.
Every holder of community shares has a right to vote on significant business decisions at Member meetings and there is only one vote per member regardless of the number of shares you hold. We are looking at alternative voting options but to begin with decisions will be made by simple majority voting. If you are interested in being on the Board of the new CBS please do let us know.
We are launching our Community Share issue on the 1st October 2022 (of course, as we are October Books!) to run through until November 14th.
We have secured the support of the Community Share Booster Programme through Co-operatives UK with this share offer who have granted us £6000 to get this share offer off the ground.
We have also already been pledged £170,000 worth of investment from our existing members and investors!
Our share offer has been awarded the Community Shares Standard Mark by the Community Share Unit. This is awarded to offers that meet national standards of good practice
To find out further details about the offer, our Share Offer Document, Business Plan and a copy of our Society's Rules can be found at the bottom of this page.