Paul Johnson, proprietor of The Natural Store – which also has shops in Falmouth and St Austell – has celebrated his 25th anniversary in the Helston branch.
The store celebrated by sharing a cheesecake made in the Falmouth store’s café with customers and offering some in-store sampling. “We took photos for the local papers and managed to get some publicity – to raise our profile a little,” says Johnson.
So how has the store managed to weather the ups and downs of the sector? “Helston has suffered in recent years from large supermarkets on the edge of town, but we’re hanging on pretty well due to the personal service and products we offer. There is a good tradition of wholefoods and healthy living in Cornwall, and we’ve been part of that. We are also part of the community. Heather Cheney has been manager for nine years; she knows the customers and the customers know her. They don’t just come in to buy products or be sold products, they have real conversations and know they can get good caring advice.”
In this trade you’ve got to keep moving on to new brands, new products – things that haven’t yet reached the mainstream – and we are very conscious of that
The store sells mainly food, but also supplements and bodycare. “It’s good old-fashioned wholefood in Helston, although as a proportion, food has been going down in recent years as more healthy foods and brands we’re familiar with have appeared in the supermarkets. But in this trade you’ve got to keep moving on to new brands, new products – things that haven’t yet reached the mainstream – and we are very conscious of that, and thankfully there are always new things coming along, both in terms of trends and genuine advances.”
Johnson concludes: “We’re really pleased to have reached this milestone and it’s thanks to our customers who have supported us so well over the years. We have seen some of them throughout the 25 years and we are looking forward to seeing everyone for many years to come.”