A BID has been launched to see a staple of Dunbar High Street remain in place through a community buy-out.

The owners of the Crunchy Carrot – Jo Gibson, Chris Eden and Sarah Wall – are keen to step down but would prefer to see the business remain in place.

The Crunchy Carrot greengrocers and wholefoods shop has been at the heart of the town for more than 18 years.

Jo told the Courier: “There are three of us who own it and it will be 19 years in April.

“We are just looking for anybody else to take it on.

“We thought it would be good to move but we did not want to just sell up because the shop might be changed and whoever bought it might change it into something completely different.”

Instead, the hope is the community could take on the business.

A recent survey and public meeting demonstrated an encouraging level of support for transferring the Crunchy Carrot to become the Community Carrot, a community-owned business.

The survey, which attracted more than 100 responses, showed nearly 90 per cent of people felt it was “very important” that the Crunchy Carrot remained open.

Meanwhile, nearly 100 per cent of responses agreed that some form of community ownership should be explored to see the business remain in place.

Now the group is investigating a community shares issue and, as part of this, potential shareholders are now being asked to indicate their support for the proposed community business.

A form has been released to assess non-binding expressions of interest in order to gauge the level of funding that might be raised.

The vision for the Community Carrot is to develop the existing ethos of the Crunchy Carrot: a strong social, ethical and environmentally friendly focus, sourcing locally where possible, with many of the existing staff expected to remain.

Funds raised would finance the purchase and refurbishment of the shop, and suggestions are being sought for additional ideas to give the business a new lease of life.

The steering group is being supported by Community Shares Scotland in writing a detailed business plan for the new venture and setting up a Community Benefit Society in order to make a community shares issue.

Ward councillor Norman Hampshire said: “There are people who prefer to buy from an independent, small supplier because they feel they get a much better service than they do from large supermarkets.

“There is definitely a market for that type of business.”