After being severely damaged in a mindless arson attack, Riverside Health & Natural Healing Centre in Newcastle Emlyn, Wales, has been revitalized and reopened under the management of new owners.
The devastating fire last November necessitated a rebuild of the shop, following which the original owner, Hazel Butterworth, decided to sell the business to regular customers Sophie and Richard Brayley, who reopened the store on 9 September.
The shop offers everything from dry goods to cheese, local and organic veg, to fresh baked bread, health supplements, CBD oils, toiletries, to household cleaners and sweet treats, as well as some refills. It will focus on supporting local producers – whose products include fruit and veg, honey, and even whiskey – as well as organic offerings where possible.
We just want people to know that it’s back, it’s still how they remember it, it’s friendly and welcoming and somewhere they can pop in and say ‘hi’. The community the shop represents is quite special and it’s really nice to be part of that
When the couple took over the shop, Butterworth had already restocked it with everything that had been on the shelves prior to the fire. “We literally walked in and it was fully stocked,” Sophie Brayley told NPN. “The range that we have in here is just unbelievable. I think that’s one of the things that customers really like – things you just can’t find in any other shop locally. We are the only health food store in the area, and people do seem to travel quite far to come here. I had one person ring up in the first week to ask if we were open because she was on her way from England!”
Riverside is also home to a therapy room that practitioners can hire to use as a base, with a naturopath, homeopath and reflexologist currently available, and allergy testing in the offing.
Having only been there for a few weeks, the new owners are still settling in and finding their feet. “There are a couple of little things that we want to look at expanding in future but at the moment we’re just trying to make sure we keep the spirit of the place,” says Brayley. “It’s so loved by the local community that we feel it’s important to not make big changes at first. We just want people to know that it’s back, it’s still how they remember it, it’s friendly and welcoming and somewhere they can pop in and say ‘hi’. The community the shop represents is quite special and it’s really nice to be part of that.”
“After the fire destroyed the shop I realized it was time for someone else to take Riverside into a new and expansive future,” Butterworth explains. “Sophie and Richard came along just before it was due to reopen, with the perfect mix of knowledge, awareness and enthusiasm – I am so please for them and for the loyal customers and local community. I have truly loved my time at Riverside Health over the last 11 years – it has been an amazing adventure … it’s a joy to see the shop open again.”