Zero waste provisions retailer Nourish will be reopening its shops in Topsham and Magdalen Road on Thursday May 14 with owner Sarah Martin putting in place systems to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
The business closed in late March when it became obvious that it was going to be difficult to adhere to government guidelines.
“Both shops are fairly small and the style of shopping is interactive with customers measuring out their own spices, pulses, seeds or pasta before weighing and making payment,” explained Sarah.
“And to be honest, in those earlier days, not everyone was adhering to social distancing which was proving stressful – we were all on the back foot.”
Sarah took the difficult decision to stay closed until such time as she felt totally secure in reopening the shops. “I thought this was the most responsible path to take although it was so hard as we were doing really well, attracting lots of new customers keen to reduce their reliance on single use plastic packaging and other waste materials.”
She has used the time to design and launch a new website, and to carry out some work at the shop in Topsham, adding additional dispensers for nuts, reorganising shelves and painting the exterior. “It’s all refreshed, ready for customers to return,” she says.
When the doors open for the first time since March, strict systems will be in place including one customer in, one customer out to ensure the correct social distancing. Hand sanitiser will be available, and staff will wear masks; customers are encouraged to do so, too.
In addition, customers are being asked to bring their containers as usual but these will be plunged straight into soapy water. Replacement containers that have already been cleaned will be filled with the produce for customers to take away. “I’m calling this the ‘clean container exchange’,” Sarah explained.
In order to maintain practical working methods, Sarah will only work from Magdalen Road whilst Mary Knight will manage the Topsham shop. Both shops will open from 9am to 1pm after which they will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, ready for the next day.
“This unprecedented situation has taken an enormous toll on businesses like mine with some likely never to reopen. But I’m resilient and feeling positive about getting going again.”