Commercial: Social franchise and social justice? Here's how...

Just-Ice is just right for this time of year and hot summer weather (here in the UK) and it’s also  just the job for victims of modern slavery and the church’s mission of social justice.

Ethical Ice Cream Café and Coffee Shop Just-Ice was set up by members of the church family at St George’s Poynton and St Martin’s Higher Poynton in Stockport as a social enterprise... “where you have great fun serving the best premium ice cream, using only natural and fairtrade ingredients while creating employment for survivors of human trafficking, restoring their dignity and giving them hope and a future.”

As well as their mission of social justice, they also act as a community hub right in the centre of the village, run on Christian values where all are welcome and a friendly face and listening ear can always be found.

Could you and your church do the same?

Like any commercial activity, church-based or not, you need to know what you’re doing – or at least have access to people who do. The Just-Ice team at Poynton were lucky in that regard with their combined skills in business, catering, teaching and pastoral care. But they were also helped greatly by buying into an established business model or ‘business in a box’ – the Just-Ice franchise.

Buying into  a franchise like they did gives you access to people who do know what they’re doing because they’ve successfully developed, delivered and proved the same business that you want to embark on.

The Just-Ice business model was developed in Derby and then rolled out to their first franchisee just down the road in Milford. Poynton is their second franchise and the first faith-based one.

Buying into the franchise gave Poynton access to the vast range of experience, knowledge, support and essential materials developed by Derby and Milford – but crucially also the flexibility to adapt that to the faith-based context in Poynton. to help make it all a success.

The franchise package includes resources like:

  • Business Handbook: a comprehensive manual that gives step-by-step instructions and guidance on how to set up and operate Just-Ice. It covers everything from health and safety, food hygiene through to operational details.
  • Business Management Software: a bespoke system to manage stock, handle volunteer and employee information, automate processes and provide comprehensive reporting information.
  • Procedures and templates: Documents detailing day-to-day processes to help ensure the highest of standards are adhered to.
  • Marketing materials: social media support to help  publicise Just-Ice and reach new markets, customers and supporters.
  • Website: advertising of Just-Ice and sharing good news stories.
  • Set up and development support: One-to-one support including site appraisals, contacts and initial set up and assistance.
  • Training and support: Advice and guidance on setting up, software training and shadowing opportunities at existing Just-Ice franchisees.
  • Networking opportunities: Ongoing communications across the Just-Ice network.
  • Suppliers: Discounts from Partner suppliers.
  • Communications: Monthly communications from across the Just-Ice network.
  • Continuous updates: The manual and software will be frequently updated, in line with changes to suppliers, legislation and best practice.

Franchising faith-based social justice commercial models is of course nothing particularly new – Food Banks   and Your Local Pantry have been doing it for years. But what is a bit unusual is to buy a secular franchise and adapt it to a faith-based context. Poynton have done just that, and perhaps provided a template for commercial  franchising for social justice in the process.

If you or your church would like to explore doing anything similar, contact Dave Nicholson at david.nicholson@smitf.org