Hastings’ co-op expands refills into second store

Trinity Refills
Trinity Refills

Trinity Wholefoods cooperative, who celebrated its 35th birthday this year, has opened a new refill store in a bid to encourage consumers to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, refill and rethink’.

When a nearby premises became available, the Hastings-based co-op took the opportunity to extend the existing refill service provided by Trinity Wholefoods into a new standalone venture, Trinity Refills, located just around the corner.

“We knew there was a market for eco household refills because we’ve been providing them for years, and are very fortunate to have a very stable, ethically conscious customer base,” co-op member Nikki Gedney told NPN. “Public awareness about the war on plastic has gone mainstream, so many more people are interested in doing their bit.”

In addition to stocking organic where possible, one of the principles of Trinity Wholefoods has always been to try and support small local business. And that is an ethos that we stick to today

Offering a variety of organic wholegrains and wholefoods, eco natural household products, bodycare, hair care and cosmetics, the shop does have some emergency brown bags and recycled jars for household refills, but is encouraging people to use whatever they’ve got at home – whether it be an old cereal packet, chutney jar or shampoo bottle.

Much of the work getting the new store open was carried out by the co-op members themselves, with the vision in mind of a ‘back to basics shop with no frills’. “We’ve got big galvanized bins, and we’ve had to invest in some eco-plastic zero waste bins as well, but where possible we’ve bought things that have been reused or recycled. For example, we’ve built the counter out of recycled plywood, one of our member’s father made the wooden apple crates, and we bought a second-hand old-fashioned till.”

There are a few brand new attractions, however, including the ‘fabulous’ WEnutbutter machine and a coffee grinder to grind ‘some amazing’ coffee roasted by Brighton company Red Roaster. “In addition to stocking organic where possible (the co-op is Soil Association certified), one of the principles of Trinity Wholefoods has always been to try and support small local business. And that is an ethos that we stick to today.”

And the new shop certainly seems to be drawing the customers in. “It’s a very interactive shopping experience, and the kids are loving it,” says Gedney. “Families come in with children who have made their own cotton drawstring bags out of pillowcases and have their own jars – they head straight for the nut butter machine!”

“The support has been fantastic. And it’s not just our current Trinity Wholefoods’ customers. We’re getting a lot of people popping in who want to be able to reduce the amount of plastic they’re using, but also those who just want to be able to buy a little bit of something — you can buy five Brazil nuts or a small tub of muesli, rather than a kilo bag.”