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Co-operative retail for independent designers, now offering franchise opportunities

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Now that anyone can set up their own online store, there’s a certain prestige to having an offline presence. The Beehive Co-op offers craftspeople and designers a retail solution that’s more substantial than a Sunday market without the daunting prospect of leasing an entire store. Members rent a portion of Beehive’s store in exchange for a monthly fee and at least four hours of staffing assistance. This keeps overhead low and puts customers and designers in direct contact, boosting the sense of community and giving the designers valuable first-hand feedback on their products. There’s an ethical draw, too: Beehive’s focus on fostering local design means products have a smaller carbon footprint, and money earned stays in the community. We’ve spotted similar concepts in the past, including inQbox, Endossa and Yokozuna. What’s interesting about Beehive is how they plan to grow the model. With stores now open in Atlanta, New York and Cincinnati, the concept is about to expand as franchising opportunities were recently made available to entrepreneurs in other American cities. From shelfspace for minipreneurs to a branded chain of local co-ops–one to watch! Spotted by: Monique Halley

Website: www.beehiveco-op.com

Contact: www.beehiveco-op.com/corp-contact.asp

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