Wholefoods store offering refill service to be first of its kind in Stowmarket
- Credit: Lucy Worrall
A wholefoods store firmly focused on local, ethical and sustainable supplies is being opened by a couple who have a passion for good food.
Bonitas Wholefoods is currently being fitted out in one of the newly converted units in Stowmarket's Tavern Street, next to Baldwins Department Store.
Owners Oliver and Theresa Walters are taking the plunge to set up the store after being vegan for the last three years, and vegetarian for 20.
Oliver runs his own media and advertising business and said a lot of thought and planning has gone into this new venture, with the pandemic inspiring the couple to "begin a new chapter".
The name Bonitas is a Latin derivative for good, honest and kind — values they hope to work by.
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"We regularly travel long distances for everyday ingredients and foods we love, sold through responsible, ethical supply chains, so to combat this we thought we’d open one ourselves," he said.
"Stowmarket is a growing town and everyone we have spoken to is really supportive.
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"Raising awareness of shopping locally and in a way that is kind to the planet is really important to us and we think it’s becoming more so for lots of people.
"The pandemic has given us all a chance to re-evaluate our lifestyles and think about how we behave, what we buy, and where we buy it from."
Theresa worked with young adults with learning disabilities for nine years and lived in Stowmarket all her life.
“I’m so excited and just a little bit nervous," she admitted.
"Our products will be sourced as locally as possible, supporting other local businesses. Where this is not an option, we will ensure supply chains are as sustainable as possible.
"As vegans ourselves, everything we sell will be cruelty free, ethical, with many organic options and with minimal plastic."
Refillable options will allow customers to completely 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.
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.