Surrey’s Haslemere Health Foods is now home to a new business with a fresh name, Apothecary 27.
Joe Jackson (pictured), who bought the store in March from Dominic Upton – voted Best Independent Retailer in the Natural & Organic Awards Europe 2011 – started out with a Saturday job at Haslemere Health Foods when he was 16. “While working at the store I developed a real interest in health and decided to study nutritional therapy at university, after which I became a practising nutritionist,” he told NPN.
Upon completing his studies Jackson returned to the shop as manager until the opportunity came up to buy the business. “I applied for funding and put together a really strong business plan with help from Dominic. He was very invested in me taking over the business because I know it so well, and he wanted me to take over that legacy. He was really helpful and I think that’s what ultimately got me the loan.”
“We call ourselves a health, wellbeing and lifestyle store because we want to sell a lifestyle to people – one that can be aspirational but also achievable,” says Jackson. “We’ve always specialized in health foods, with an organic focus, and I’d say 95% of our products are vegan as well. We carry a huge range of supplements, in particular food state ones, and organic bodycare products, which we are trying to expand. We try and get a good spread across the board, so we do the higher end stuff like Dr Hauschka as well as the more affordable brands like Faith in Nature and Jason.”
Price has been key to the success of the store, according to Jackson. “We’ve got a lot of competition in terms of supermarkets and the Internet so we try and give our customers the best price we can to make them feel they can come and do a good weekly shop with us and not just get the speciality items.”
Jackson is in the process of rebranding the store with new signage and wants to evolve the shop gradually so it still feels familiar to its established customer base, but also to modernize it and build upon the existing offer.
The store already has local practitioners offering free drop-in clinics, and is now having some renovation work done to open up the space so it can offer talks and evening events.
Apothecary 27 also has a loyalty scheme, through which customers returning with its bag for life get a discount. Future plans include working with a local interior design store to help introduce more gift and homeware items and potentially expanding to have a health food café or coffee bar.
Apothecary 27’s new website has a regularly updated blog, with contributions from health experts in the local area, as well as well known names like Naturally Sassy.