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Secret Shopper Report: Cheshire

Small but well stocked

Our Secret Shoppers are scouring the highways and byways for the best of GB’s health food and natural lifestyle independents. Giving marks out of 10 in each of five sections, our shopper went to the heart of Cheshire to see how this health store measures up.

The Better Retailing Awards are run in conjunction with the Health Food institute and reward excellence in independent health store retailing. The winner is selected from the stores visited by the Better Retailing secret shoppers throughout the year.

Store location: Cheshire
Leg cramps

First impressions

The store is situated on the first floor deck of a busy high street. Once I have climbed the very short staircase that leads up to where the store is located, I am greeted by an eye-catching green shop sign (the store’s primary colour) that lets me know I’m in the right place. My first impressions are the store is easy to find, looks pretty and is well presented. The window display is uncluttered so I can see right into the store which gives me an initial idea of what I can find inside.

Verdict: 8/10

Store layout

Inside, the store is bright, airy, clean and is very easy to navigate. There is plenty of room to move around. Although, it’s quite a small shop it still packs quite a punch in terms of the range of products it stocks. The store offers a number of leading health supplement ranges from brands such as Viridian, A. Vogel, PharmaNord, Terranova, Nature’s Plus, Bioforce and BetterYou. It also offers a good range of free-from foods, snacks and treats plus beauty, bodycare and eco-household options.

Verdict: 8/10

Personal attention

As soon as I enter the store, I’m greeted with a cheery hello from the store’s owner. I feel at ease browsing at my leisure and don’t feel rushed in any way. After browsing for quite a while and identifying what I think I need to buy, I pop over to the counter where the owner is situated and ask for her advice. I explain I’m suffering from frequent cramps in my legs and particularly my calves (running related) and ask whether she would recommend a magnesium supplement to help to minimise these flare-ups. The store’s owner confirms that magnesium is exactly what I need and speedily locates some magnesium supplement options that she would recommend. I opt for the Together Health option as it’s a vegetarian 30-day supply so I can give it a try to see if it makes a difference and it’s a purse-friendly price too.

Verdict: 9/10

Check out

Paying for my items is a fast and friendly experience. I have a good chat with the store’s owner about supplements and some of the better ranges such as the one I’ve just bought my supplement from. She reiterates that she feels the magnesium will really help to ease the calf cramp issues I’ve been experiencing lately. I don’t enquire about whether the store has a website as I’ve already accessed that prior to my visit to check the store’s location! I get the impression the store offers a fantastic service to local customers as they operate a policy of if we don’t currently stock something we can order items into the store for collection. However, I’m unclear whether that extends to a mail order option for customers that live further afield

Verdict: 8/10

Overall impression

It’s a small but well presented store and I’m impressed by the friendliness and knowledge of the store’s owner. I’ll definitely return to the store when I’m next in the area and would certainly recommend it to friends and family if they happened to be heading to the store’s location for a weekend break or – as was the reason for my visit – to do a race!

Verdict: 8/10

Total marks: 41/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...