New life after the pandemic

NNB editor Alistair Forrest salutes the authors of a campaign booklet that is helping health food stores everywhere to reboot in the changing world of retailing.

By now, health stores across the country will have begged, borrowed or stolen the new post-pandemic resource booklet produced by Viridian in association with the National Association of Health Stores and Health Stores Ireland.

Rebuilding Confidence & Driving Footfall not only does what it says on the tin (or the cover) but it also aims to bring crises-torn communities together following Covid and Brexit.

Although much of it focuses on Daventry where Viridian is based, along with Sheaf Street Health Store owned by Viridian founder Cheryl Thallon and her husband Shaun, the 32-page booklet is packed full of ideas for events, activities and promotions to help retailers boost their communities.

Sheaf Street Health Store has thrived during the pandemic despite reduced footfall.

The booklet points out that all the indications are that shopping local will make a resurgence post-Covid, but stores need to strike while the iron's hot. Make yourself irresistible and engaging to the modern shopper - greet with a cheerful welcome and create experiences on the shop floor such as tastings, demos, talks about brands or categories, freebies and plenty of information.

The stores that successfully come out of the pandemic and into the next decade will be those that make their customers feel good.

“We wanted to enhance the specialist independent health store position as the centre of the health and eco community with humility, gratitude, inspiration, laughter and joy,” says Cheryl.

“Finding a way for people to feel ‘included' and supported by others is at the heart of all these ideas. This collaborative booklet does just that by sharing and reminding all the amazing activities health stores do in their communities. Many of these ideas have been tried and tested in stores around the UK and Ireland.”

Health stores wanting to receive a copy can email marketing@viridian-nutrition.com

Just some of the great ideas in the Rebuilding booklet

”This booklet is chock-full of practical ideas to promote independent stores as we return to near normal living post-Covid. It will really inspire initiatives that we can take at local level. I particularly love the layout with ‘training opportunities' highlighted on each page.”
Erica Murray, The Hopsack, Dublin

Local health festivals

Nature's Corner in Newbury and Natural Health in Hertford have both organised local Health Festivals with suppliers as exhibitors and a programme of lectures from key speakers in the industry. Have you done something similar in your area? Send a report and pictures to New Natural Business, email alistair@jfnproductions.co.uk.

“By utilising this resource, stores are running in-store and local events and reaching out to other independent retailers in their neighbourhood.”
Gerald Colfer, President, Health Stores Ireland

Working together in your community

Collaborating, sharing ideas and marketing each other's businesses in a town or community sounds simple but for many retailers it's an alien concept.

”Once towns start to work this way there is a massive benefit to residents, businesses and the surrounding supply chain, making the towns a better place to live and work, with better facilities and employment,” says Chris Sands, founder of Totally Locally.

”Independent businesses are the lifeblood of our High Streets and Town Centres, run by incredibly passionate and knowledgeable people, often pouring their life savings into their businesses.”

Totally Locally (totallylocally.org) offers free downloads of many marketing assets ranging from how to get a first meeting together, posters, print templates, links to open-source peer groups and more.

”This booklet is a prime example of what can be achieved when we work together. We hope that all health food stores will find it a useful tool to help promote themselves in their local community and ultimately help increase footfall.”
Len Glenville, NAHS Chair

In-store clubs

Setting up in-store clubs for different activities is a concept recommended in the booklet. An example is a weight-loss club or similar linked to nutrition, or a group set up for diabetics. Health stores can promote through GPs and Link Workers.

Other ideas include a vegan club with a recipes, health advice and a vegan guide to your town.

All clubs need a joining pack and a free gift for joining, with social media video content and live webinars.

Join the reboot movement

Tell us which ideas in the booklet you have put into practice, and any further ideas and promotions that have worked for you or that you are planning for the festive season. Send a short report and photos by email to New Natural Business - alistair@jfnproductions.co.uk

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