Apples & Bees aims to please

With nearly nine years’ experience in health food retailing, Mihhail Jesmenov decided it was time to take the plunge and open his own store.

“I felt I could make a good job of it – but I also wanted to do something a bit different,” Jesmenov told Natural Products. Now local shoppers in Battersea, south London, can judge for themselves whether he has been successful – just a few weeks ago Apples & Bees opened its doors for the first time on Battersea Park Road.

“The reaction has been fantastic so far, we’ve had a really warm welcome from people in the local community,” he said.

Jesmenov says he was very clear about wanted he wanted to avoid with his new enterprise: “I think that parts of the health food trade have become so commercially focused that they have lost sight of its principles. There are some stores selling products that to me have nothing to do with health at all –they’re not organic or Fairtrade either. What they generally have in common is that they are very overpriced – and it’s because they command high prices, and sell, that people seem happy to stock them. But I think you really start to dilute your values if you go down that route.”

So how would Jesmenov describe Apples & Bees? “I hope we’ve created a really enjoyable shopping experience, with really nice customer care and attention to detail – that was the aim. And I wanted the store to be part of the local community, and to be a cosy and homely environment. That’s reflected in the store design, which makes use of lots of English-made wooden furniture.

947325_152585338247115_686055940_n“It’s quite a small store – 50m2, but with room at the back to extend – so it was important to edit our stock carefully. I’ve really gone for the brands that I know and trust – and 99% of which I’ve tried personally. I’d describe Apples & Bees as a contemporary interpretation of the independent, family run health food store – we’ve got a good all round offer of health foods, natural supplements, sports nutrition and skincare. We offer friendly customer service and competitive prices – I think that’s really important.”

Apples & Bees will be launching a fully functioning store website in the coming weeks.