In November one of London’s oldest health food shops, Health Foods, celebrated its 50th anniversary, having first opened its doors in the Fulham Road in 1966.
So how has the store managed to thrive for so many years? Min Ferraro, the store’s manager, explains: “Dedication. We really care about our customers and what we do – I think that’s the secret to surviving as a popular and successful independent shop in a climate of increasing globalization. Health Foods is more than just a shop – it’s part of our local community.”
And the store has seen many changes. “The industry has change a lot since I first got into it 25 years ago,” explains Ferraro. “There are more regulations, and there is more competition, especially online, but we have learnt to adapt – and as a result the shop continues to go from strength to strength.”
In the two weeks prior to the big birthday celebration, customers were offered a 10% discount on many items and were also treated to instore demonstrations, free sampling, goody bags and other special promotions. There was also a raffle draw.
The store marked the historic milestone with a visit from local MP Greg Hands, who drew the first prizes for the raffle, and cut the commemorative cake with Health Foods director Richard Lawrence, who is also the author of a number of New Age and wellbeing books.
The occasion was well attended by regular customers, past employees – including three former managers (now retired) – and the local press. The front window featured photographs of the shop throughout its history, starting with its first manager – Stella Nielsen, who originally pioneered the venture as a small enterprise for personal acquaintances she knew through The Aetherius Society – a local New Age church.
Main picture: Greg Hands congratulating Min Ferraro
Above right: Richard Lawrence and Min Ferraro outside Health Foods