Start-up sets sights on national expansion
A Sheffield-based entrepreneur providing a lifeline to the city’s independent supermarkets is set to roll out his online shopping portal across the UK after seeing demand soar during the lockdown.
Since the end of March, 3miles.co.uk has helped Sheffield’s independent retailers secure orders of more than £100,000 and is attracting an average of 500 new customers per week.
The service was pioneered by Mazen Musaed, who has been working with the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme, to build and develop his business model.
He is now setting his sights on rolling the service out to other parts of the UK including Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham.
Musaed first began developing his business, then called Ready Mart, during his final year at Sheffield Hallam University in 2019.
After realising many independently-owned businesses were deterred from selling their goods online due to the prohibitive set up costs and time associated with managing a web-based business, he sought to simplify the process.
He devised a solution to enable shoppers to buy a range of goods from different retailers which are delivered directly to the doors of customers.
Earlier this year, he rebranded the business to 3miles.co.uk and launched a delivery service, allowing shoppers to choose from a growing range of 5,000 different products which are sourced from speciality retailers and delivered to their door at the click of a button.
Since he launched his business last summer 3miles.co.uk has forged partnerships with speciality retailers including fresh meat, zero waste and organic produce.
The business currently employs six people, but Musaed now wants to build the business into a national brand, capable of offering an alternative to supermarket delivery services.
He is now working with the Launchpad programme to secure the investment needed to roll-out his business across the UK, with the aim of creating 19 full-time roles in Sheffield.
Musaed said: “The demand for online grocery shopping has risen dramatically as more people switch their weekly shop from the supermarket to home delivery services.
“Yet many have found themselves unable to secure suitable booking slots and have been left disappointed when the products ordered haven’t arrived.
“At the same time, many independent retailers, typically dependent on passing trade and regular customers have seen their orders drop significantly – simply because they do not have the resources to balance running a retail business and selling online.
“Since lockdown began we have forged partnerships with a number of new independent retailers helping them to access a precious source of income during a difficult trading period.
“When I first started trading I was lucky if the business would secure three to four orders a week.
“Today we’re seeing orders grow on an almost daily basis. We are setting our sights on securing in excess of 50,000 orders per week as we roll the business concept out across the UK.”
Natalie Fletcher, business advisor at Launchpad, said: “When an entrepreneur joins the Launchpad programme, they are not just tapping into a wealth of experience and knowledge available throughout the Sheffield City Region, they become part of a vibrant dynamic business community.
“Although no one could have predicted current events, Mazen was quick to recognise his business concept could help others by offering a means of helping them to access speciality produce from the comfort of their own home.
“We are looking forward to continuing to support Mazen’s ambitious growth plans as he continues to scale and grow his business in the future.”