Andrew Thornton on The Power of Community


HiBL final logo with strapline

One of the three planks of the Heart in Business Limited approach is taking care of your community – along with taking care of your people and our planet. At Thornton’s Budgens, we call ourselves, “The Community Supermarket that really Cares” and we feel we can do that as over our nine year history, we  have, year after year invested in and cared about our community.

Right now we are raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital (up the road in our borough of Camden), inspired by Raymond, one of our team who had his life saved by them. We have the “Great Belsize Bake Off” on Saturday week where some of our team will be baking cakes and making curries with children from local schools to sell at our food fair. These children will get to better understand about community, while learning cooking skills at the same time. Customers get to contribute with our HOPE blocks which they can buy for a £1 when they shop (and we add 10p to every pound spent).

Last year we supported a local school get solar panels in place, helped start the first ever Belsize Christmas lights and supported 4 other local projects. Although I could write about this for pages, I am sure you get the point. We do this because it is the right thing to do.  We are not looking for anything in return.

At the end of last year, Tesco announced they planned to open a site 150 metres from our store. A move that would damage and even threaten the viability of our business. Even though the news ‘seeped’ out on December 27, within 24 hours a ‘Stop Tesco coming to Belsize Park’ committee was formed and a petition was started. Over 4 weeks 3,500 signatures where collected, the proposed site was ‘picketed’ to coincide with a major Tesco announcement and a public meeting was called. Local celebrities like Tom Conti, Emma Thompson and Janet Suzman were mobilised to lead a national press campaign.

The community acted as they realised just how valuable we are to them. This contrasts to Tesco, who continue to ignore issues they have in all their stores across the borough of Camden.  At the public meeting, speaker after speaker branded them a ‘bad neighbour’. We did not need to ask for something back in return for all we have given.  Our community gave when it was needed.

Last week, Tesco decided to pull out of the proposed site, resulting in much celebration in Belsize Park and in our store!

Not only is investing in your community the right thing to do, it also makes great business sense.

With Heart and thanks,


Andrew Isaac Thornton