Back in January we launched into around 300 Holland & Barrett stores, and it’s been a very busy few months ever since.
We’ve loved being part of the UK’s largest health food retailer and I was even more excited to be part of their journey when I found out that they had a big focus on Free From and would actually be launching new stores with this as the major focus.
I know! It sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? It’s really great news for all of us.
A few months ago, at the supplier conference, they showed us some artist impressions of what this new “concept store” would look like. I could hardly believe my luck when I found out the first of these stores would be in Chester, just 30 mins from Pud-Central.
Thursday was the grand opening so I knew immediately where I would be spending my Saturday morning.
On my way I wondered how busy it would be and also what new ranges would be available. This is, after all, the largest Holland & Barrett store in the UK now. It even has a VBites hot food counter – how amazing!
You can see from my pics that the store has a really lovely entrance; airy and spacious with a gorgeous and expansive dried fruit and nut “pic n mix” selection, plus a fresh fruit and veg area. This is something completely new and gives it a real wholefoods kind of feel.
This store is massive – it goes on and on, it’s just unreal. You can imagine my glee when I went in!
I haven’t seen anything like this outside of London. This is definitely my new favourite shop for treats both foodie and beauty (More on that in a minute!).
The chiller cabinet, unlike most Holland & Barrett stores, is extensive. They have some fantastic looking VBites food to go salads & sandwiches – and over three whole shelves of veg.out, which I haven’t tried but they look really good.
In total there are 3 whole cabinets dedicate to chilled, which is fantastic. I really think this is what sets this store apart, and I’m already thinking of what other Puds and Yogs we can fit in there!
It’s clear this store has got it going on when it comes to free from with two entire aisles dedicated to just this. Visiting this shop reminded me of when I went to the 100% vegan store Veganz in Germany. Everywhere you turn it’s vegan, or in this case free from, and everything just looks so good, and the great thing is the store was packed.
It confirms my suspicions that more and more, people are eating free from just because it’s good… This just makes me so happy!
That’s exactly what I thought should happen when I started Pudology. It’s about making great food. It just happens to be gluten, dairy, egg and nut free.
Shops like this now give brands that “just happen” to be free from a gorgeous platform to be sold all together. It’s your one stop shop for all things tasty and healthy!
On top of this excitement you have the Vbites Juice bar & hot food counter. This is so cool I can barely contain my excitement as I type!
I’m sorry my photos don’t really do it justice – but it’s a fab set up in a super friendly store (this is a feature throughout the store by the way!). I had a falafel wrap and scrumptious it definitely was.
I’m not vegan, but with food like this available I would always choose a vegan option and I think it’s great that Holland & Barrett have recognised the opportunity of a vegan food counter in these stores. What a brilliant place for people to pop to for lunch to take away.
I was also really thrilled to hear that the two people serving me were vegan – there’s nothing like people serving you who really believe in what they’re doing.
I mentioned the beauty section earlier. This is at the back of the store – and oh boy!
They have something that I just thought was the ultimate in cool (maybe I need to get out more?!) a Make Your Own Body Scrub. There were three choices of scrub, three choices of natural additive and six choices of oil blends. That means a lot of combinations and what fun it is to dream up new ones.
There is so much to talk about in this store, I could go on all night.
I HIGHLY recommend that you pay this store a visit if you can get to Chester. Look out for these new concept stores in a town near you, and please tweet us to tell us when you find hidden treasures!