CARGO – Social Enterprise in a Container

“Love Bristol? Go Local!”

I’m very much a community person and naturally drawn to spaces that bring people together so they can help each other and grow. Coming from an agricultural background, I love everything to do with food. And as a startup founder, I appreciate the initiatives that support independent companies and push them to go a little bit further.

Wapping Wharf’s CARGO ticks all the boxes.

Located just on the Bristol’s Wharf, CARGO is a super cool local hub of restaurants and retailers housed within converted shipping containers. The key word is ‘local’. No multinationals are allowed here – local enterprises only. It gives a great boost to small businesses, empowers them. It’s important to know that you won’t be overtaken by a ‘big guy’ tomorrow.

Its concept is quite unique for Bristol. There’s Engine Shed 2, that uses shipping containers for offices, but CARGO are the first to claim them for retail.  

For the Love of Food

Indian, Greek, Pizza, Tapas, Fish & Chips… Whatever cuisine you’re craving, you can find it here. I’ve had a chance to meet David, a very friendly owner of Oliver’s, an artisan ice cream shop. David came a long way to open the shop, from taking lessons from seasoned Italian chefs to closing his printing business to make this ice cream dream happen. He took a leap and it looks like it was all worth it. He says that everyone leaves his place with a smile. I wasn’t the exception.

It’s All About the Community

The format is not the only thing that sets CARGO apart. What makes a whole lot of difference is the community. Independent businesses here help and support each other. Restaurants get meat from the butcher two containers away, interior design guys come together with cheese and wine producers for the events, and occasionally all of them go out for lunch.  

Locals love coming to CARGO as well and their support is what makes the businesses there develop and grow.  

“Quite apart from the shipping containers, what makes the place unique is the extraordinary community of business people based there and how they support each other” – Stuart Hatton, Director of Umberslade, the developers behind Wapping Wharf & CARGO.

Develop on Your Own Terms

When it comes to launching a business, it’s easy to start over-analysing things and doubting yourself. You can always find reasons why it won’t work. The difficult thing is to take the first step. The road will be built as you start walking, but that first step is up to you.

CARGO gives small businesses more than space. It gives them the opportunity to develop the way they want. They get a blank canvas and can create something different, something very “them.” And all that with the support of the community that says, “yes, you can do it – we have.”

Bristol is developing more and more as a social enterprise hub of Britain. Aside from CARGO, there’s also Engine Shed and the new venture, The Circle Bristol, is in the works! Bristol is on a very exciting track and it’s great to be a part of it, even if for a day.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.