A STAPLE of Dunbar High Street has opened its doors as a community-owned shop for the first time.

More than 500 shareholders now own the Crunchy Carrot after a hugely successful community share offer in July raised more than £62,000 to save the greengrocer store from the threat of closure.

Officially now the Community Carrot Community Benefit Society, there is such local affection for the name and signage that it will continue to trade as the Crunchy Carrot.

For the past three years, a team of locals has been working to raise the funds needed to buy the business and premises for the community with the owners looking to move on.

Jo Gibson, one of the original owners, is set to stay on as a shop manager for the time being to ensure a smooth transition to its new ownership model.

She said: “How wonderful and emotional and humbling this time has been. Everyone has been so generous and keen to get involved.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for all their kindness.”

More than £180,000 was raised through the community share offer alongside a generous grant from the Scottish Land Fund.

The funding allowed the purchase of the shop premises and the business, as well as funding refurbishments and other costs.

A development officer, whose remit is to support and help deliver the group’s community ambitions, has also been hired.

The ambitions include closer partnerships with local growers, making it easier for outlying areas to access the shop’s services, community outreach and engagement programmes, and opportunities for work experience, training and volunteering.

Dunbar’s well-established food waste programme Sunny Soups has become a partnership venture between The Ridge, which has run it for nearly three years, and the Crunchy Carrot.

Essential maintenance and refurbishments will be carried out and some new branding put in place, with a number of new jobs also created.