A new food store providing space for more than 60 independent producers to sell their offerings is opening in Buchanan Galleries.

The Scottish Design Exchange (SDX), a community interest company which already provides space for artists and designers to sell their work on the high street, is expanding its retail footprint with the launch of a dedicated premium food business called Foodies. SDX is the brainchild of chief executive Lynzi Leroy, a former project manager for Shell.

Foodies’ store in Buchanan Galleries will provide space for independent producers of high quality, specialist and artisan foods including coffee and specialist teas, honey, jams and chutneys, relishes and pickles, sauces, marinades, and glazes. It will also sell, biscuits, chocolate, oatcakes, soft drinks, herbs, spices, and seasonings.

The new store will bring the total number of SDX outlets to four. SDX’s existing shops, in Buchanan Galleries and on George Street and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, currently provide retail space for 320 artists, designers, and local craftspeople.

SDX noted its retail spaces and online store have generated more than £6 million of revenue for independent producers since it launched in 2015.

It observed that, “unlike most art galleries”, it does not charge commission on items sold.

SDX added: “Artists and designers pay a fixed, monthly fee to rent space in the stores, and they keep 100% of their sales, so they’re not penalised for the popularity of their products.”

Ms Leroy said: “We are a non-profit social enterprise and, for nearly a decade, we have been supporting Scottish artists and designers to grow and develop their businesses, as well as making their passion their livelihood. Now we are looking to do the same for those who make amazing food.

“Scotland has a huge number of small, specialist and artisan food producers but many struggle to find places to sell their premium products. With the cost of ingredients rising over the past few years, profit margins for food producers have been badly hit.”

She added: “Farmers’ markets provide a great opportunity for food producers, but they are sporadic and they tend to take place only at weekends. They can also be expensive, and footfall can be affected by poor weather. Other outlets, such as independent delis, tend to be off the beaten track, in areas of towns and cities that don’t always get the footfall required to allow food producers to make a reliable profit.”

Foodies will be located one unit away from the SDX Glasgow store which has been trading in Buchanan Galleries for the past five years. SDX noted that its existing Buchanan Galleries outlet had generated more than 32,000 transactions, worth a total of £832,000 in sales, in the past year alone.

Ms Leroy said: “Our customer research suggests we will get a similar footfall for our food producers as we have achieved for our artists and designers.

“We have sold a few food products, such as honey, dressings, chocolate, tablet, spice mixes and hot sauces...at our stores in Glasgow and Edinburgh and they have always been popular with customers.”

She added: “The fixed-fee model we run at...SDX – and will now introduce into Foodies – will ensure that producers get to keep 100% of all sales made.

“Our tried-and-tested model allows independent and small businesses the chance to earn the lion’s share of their profits, with dedicated sales staff in store to sell the products.

“We also provide traders with support for their marketing and branding, helping them to get the word out about their product to the wider market.”

Ms Leroy said she had been thinking about launching a dedicated food store for several years, but that conditions were never quite right, until now.

She declared: “When we first discussed the idea with Buchanan Galleries, prior to the Covid pandemic, they were very supportive, but successive lockdowns forced us to delay our plans.

“When a suitable unit became available earlier this year, we knew the time was right to open Foodies and provide local food producers [with] a store for people who want to shop specifically for specialist food and drink products.”

Ms Leroy added: “We have been lucky to have had support from the management team in Buchanan Galleries, who have always been behind our model, providing additional marketing opportunities for our brands, through their social media platform, which has a fantastic reach.”

Annette Paterson, Commercial Retail Manager at Buchanan Galleries, said: “We’re immensely proud to celebrate Scottish heritage and culture here at Buchanan Galleries, which has been so greatly encapsulated by the ongoing success of the Scottish Design Exchange since the store opened in 2018. 

“We’re thrilled to support Lynzi with the Foodies expansion, which will allow shoppers to find premium, high-quality produce from some uniquely Scottish independent small businesses and suppliers.

“Scotland is known for its wide variety of food and drink, and it’s thanks to the expansion of SDX and Foodies that Glasgow’s locals can find their everyday favourites, or tourists visiting the city can take home a small taste of Scotland. We look forward to seeing the store open this July and wish Lynzi, and the wider SDX team all the best in this new venture.”