Nourish Wholefoods was recently opened in Chew Valley, north Somerset, by 23-year-old Sofi Fernywork, in a bid to provide local people natural and organic products within a comfortable environment.
“I opened the shop in January,” explains Fernywork. “ It all happened very quickly – only seven weeks after I decided to take the plunge, follow my dream and open a shop. At the age of 23, I’m what my friends call ‘blindly optimistic’, and decided that if I didn’t do it now then I might never do it.”
Nourish Wholefoods came about due to Fernywork’s passion for nutrition and her belief that food is medicine, and the shop was designed to be a reflection of this. “I grew up in the local area, and wanted to create a space where people could be educated about making healthy choices, have easy access to organic products, without it being intimidating, and without them having to travel to the nearest city.”
The shop is based just around the corner from Chew Valley Lake and is surrounded by other small independent businesses who, Fernywork says, have been incredibly supportive.
As far as the layout is concerned, Fernywork admits that as the store isn’t that large, trying to figure out the display was a bit of a challenge. “The store is set out so that the first thing you see as you walk in the door is our display of fresh organic veg, supplied by The Community Farm. In the front area we have our drinks, baking goods, fresh organic breads and chocolate. As you head towards the back of the shop you have the chiller, freezer and our scoop station for wholegrains. We also have a workshop/kitchen space that we use for free workshops, our most recent being on how to ferment, and make your own sauerkraut, etc. I’ve tried to keep it looking really natural, and soft in colour and feel.”
The store focuses on food products, including nuts and seeds, fruit and veg, and a large range of gluten- and dairy-free items, as well as superfoods, but it also offers household cleaning products supplements and toiletries.
“As much of the food as possible in the shop is organic, and I’m trying my hardest to find local suppliers that offer organic ranges. Trying to spread the organic message was one of the main reasons I opened the shop, and with our ‘bulk scoop wholegrains’ station I want to try and make organic more affordable for everyone. We have an organic salad grower less than a mile away, whose salad we stock, and local honey and apple juice suppliers as well. Finding the balance between local or organic and weighing up which is best in terms of the impact of a product is something I’m still learning.”
So now the store is open, how does Fernywork intend to spread the word and increase footfall? “Social media is currently the most effective form of advertising we use, as we are in a fairly rural area, getting word out about the shop is an ongoing mission and social media is a brilliant way for us to do this.”
And Fernywork doesn’t intend to stop here. “I really want to expand what we offer in the shop, and also have plans for our own made-in-store product range, as well as having an exciting plan for a new kind of shop – watch this space!”