See inside Stowmarket's first wholefoods and refill store
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A couple from Stowmarket with a passion for local products have opened the town's first wholefoods and refill store.
Bonitas Wholefoods opened its doors for the first time today in Tavern Street, run by Oliver and Theresa Walters.
The couple, who have a passion for wholefoods, took the plunge to open the new store following the impacts of coronavirus, which they say has given people the chance to re-evaluate their lifestyles.
Mr Walters said they are feeling "really excited and nervous" about the opening, but have been reassured by the positive feedback from the community.
"The feedback from people walking past and online has been incredible," said Mr Walters, who runs his own media and advertising business for charities.
"We are feeling all sorts of things really.
"We want to be as inclusive as possible and we have filled the store with handmade local products, as we are both Suffolk born and bred and we have supported local businesses for as long as we can remember."
Mr Walters said the shop has always been a dream of theirs, explaining the pandemic spurred them onto making the jump.
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"With the pandemic and Brexit I think more people have changed their outlook on where they shop," he said.
"Stowmarket has been slow to the party in terms of independent businesses, but there are lots of independent shops in this part, and we can't wait to add to that."
The name Bonitas is a Latin derivative for good, honest and kind — values they hope to work by.
As vegans themselves, everything in the shop will be cruelty free and ethical, with many organic options, gluten free alternatives and minimal plastic.
Mr Walters said they want to be as inclusive as possible and will only sell things they believe in.
They will also be encouraging people to go plastic-free, with refillable options allowing customers to avoid packaging and bring their own containers.
If the store needs items in plastic packaging, they will choose compostable options and if it isn't possible they will encourage customers to bring the wrapping back so they can recycle it.
The store will initially open from Tuesday to Saturday, staying open later on Thursdays.
Bonitas Wholefoods has also signed up to 1% For The Planet global initiative where participating members pledge 1% of all sales to help diverse environmental not-for-profits around the world.
In addition, they'll be registering with Refill — an initiative for retailers to offer tap water to anyone who needs it.