Heswall Health celebrated its third year anniversary in October and marked the occasion in-store by handing out over 300 goodie bags, holding a free-to-enter raffle and treating customers to lots of food sampling.
“The response from suppliers was amazing,” says store owner Niki Davies, “especially as times are hard for all of us, and customers really appreciated the goodie bags, full of samples and lots of full-size products.”
Davies says that her customers could hardly believe that three years had passed so quickly – some sent her cards and flowers and a couple even baked cakes. “Customers become friends – the shop is very much a social meeting place,” she explains.
Davies opened Heswall Health after being made redundant from another health food shop in the town, where the owner liquidated the company before paying the staff redundancy. “I had already signed the lease for the store and arranged for shop-fitters, but had no money to pay for anything,” she explains. Luckily, the shop-fitters were extremely understanding and deferred payment for three months.
Looking back over the past three years, Davies has noticed a few changes: “We have seen our customer base change from the more mature person who has been interested in their health for some time to much younger people who are becoming more aware of their health and want to know what they can take, both in the way of food and supplements, to keep them healthy.”
“The biggest change we have seen is the reduced number of herbal supplements we are allowed to sell and discuss, due to EU legislation,” says Davies.
She says that the sectors which have grown most in the store are natural bodycare, as more people learn how chemicals in toiletries can affect them, and free-from foods as the number of people suffering from intolerances seems to be rising. The main area of decline, she says, has been children’s supplements.
So what does the future hold for the Heswall Health? “Over the next 12 months I am introducing a loyalty card, having my website updated and overhauled, and from January we will be doing monthly promotions for seasonal and condition-related products,” explains Davies.
“The lessons I have learned are to do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do, and to employ good staff you can rely on and trust,” she adds.