A south-west online grocer is set to roll out its model nationwide after receiving an approach from a potential franchisee. Devon-based Own Online specialises in local food and drink and claims to provide a full weekly local shop for its 2,500 customers. Founder Dave Stickland and director Keith Rawlinson have entered into talks after attracting the attention of a potential franchisee for the London area.

Stickland said franchises could be rolled out across the UK. The model was scalable nationally, he said, because the average value of orders was £70 and the company offered a full range of groceries, household and personal care products, distinguishing it from local veg and meat box schemes.

The retailer stocks 3,000 lines from over 100 westcountry producers, growers and wholesalers. And the 20% of products it can’t source locally, it buys from wholesalers in the region. “I think it is a very transportable model. Because we are an online business, we aren’t reliant on location,” he said. “So franchisees need a certain amount of capital for the chiller units and the storage, but those can be put anywhere from a farmyard to a warehouse. We can hand out a franchise by area, by city, by county.”

The company’s green credentials differentiated it from rivals, Stickland said. “Over 80% of our products are from within a 70-mile radius. Our vans are more efficient and each of us can do 35 deliveries a day, compared with the supermarket average of 20. Our packing is more efficient and we don’t use carrier bags.”

Own Online also marks food miles against products on its website. Local food need not be more expensive, Stickland said, adding that his online model had lower distribution costs without the expense of running a store.

“Every £10 spent at a local food business is worth £25 for the local area, compared with just £14 when spent in a supermarket. “Community, environment and local economy all benefit from this type of business,” he added.