After being run by Angela Norman for over 20 years, Lymington health store Sweet Joe Pye has been sold to Sanjay Patel, owner of Well Natural in Salisbury.
“Angela literally came in to my office and said ‘I have a health food store in Lymington, would you be interested in buying it?’ At the time it didn’t really appeal to me because I live in London and was looking for something a bit closer to home, but having looked at it a second time, I thought it wasn’t a bad little business and had potential for future growth.”
“Lymington is a very different area to Salisbury”, says Patel, “in that Lymington is much smaller with possibly a higher concentration of wealth. Sweet Joe Pye is much smaller than the Salisbury store too, which is on two floors and has a café.”
Patel intends to give the shop, housed in a grade II listed building, a makeover as well as expanding it. “I’ve already had a few builders look at it and give me quotes. I will give it a facelift and there’s a storage area towards the back of the store so I’m going extend the store and also move the entrance from the left to the centre.”
He will also add some new lines to the store. “It will more of the specialized niche lines – fairly-traded, organic, whether it’s food, skincare or supplements – across all categories really. Currently it’s a good mix – fairly evenly mixed between the three areas.”
“I will be changing the name to Well Natural,” says Patel, “but the feedback I’ve had from customers is that they would like the name kept, so I’m going to compromise and incorporate Sweet Joe Pye in some way, at least for a while until customers get used to the change.”
So will there be more stores in future? Patel sees the purchase as an opportunity to expand – something he was instrumental in doing during his time as sales director at Revital, where he worked for more than 20 years. “I want to continue – this is something that I always stressed when I was at Revital that I’ll do it as long as I have a team helping me and wanting to do it – it’s not a one-man show, it’s all about having the team helping me and keeping me going as far as possible.”