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Celebrating health food stores in Family Business Week


“The first time a customer comes back and thanks you for helping them, you are hooked.”

At Viridian Nutrition, we’ve heard this so many times from health store owners and their next-gen kids who’ve joined the business. Helping customers and your community to better health through nutrition and lifestyle is absolutely addictive.

So it’s no surprise that many independent health food stores are owned and managed by two or even three generations of the same family, as the kids join the business as Saturday help and get hooked.

Family Business Week is a week-long celebration of family businesses as a force for good.

Family firms are the backbone of the UK economy and the bedrock of our communities. However, the scale of their impact and contribution is often underestimated.

Family Business Week is designed to recognise and celebrate the contribution family firms make to the economy and communities.  Led by Family Business UK, the week is an opportunity for everyone to get behind family businesses and show their support.

More than 1000 independent health food stores open daily to serve the families of their community with healthy foods, food supplements, free-from foods, cruelty-free beauty, ethical homecare and so much more – truly a force for good!

Here we celebrate just a few highlights from the family-run community of health stores.



Located in the vibrant market town of Congleton, Cheshire, Bare Health is an independent healthy living store & holistic therapy centre and popular venue for many health and wellness events.

Opened in 2011 by Mel Ratcliffe and co-managed alongside her lovely mum, Sue. Both Mum and daughter have worked in the natural health industry for almost 25 years, having previously worked for a popular chain of health stores in North Staffordshire.

Mel and Sue are experienced holistic therapists and together have over 40 years’ experience practicing a variety of disciplines from aromatherapy, sports and remedial massage, reflexology, nutrition to Hopi ear candling and Thai massage. Sue offers her holistic therapies from one of the treatment rooms at Bare Health whilst also working in the store two days a week. Mel on the other hand can be found most days at the helm of Bare Health advising on the shop floor, arranging wellness events and managing the day to day running of the business. 

In store, Mel and Sue are supported at Bare Health by a wonderful team. Lisa, a personal development coach and Jo a talented artist who creates stunning visual displays in store at Bare Health. And although not blood related, they're very much a part of the Bare Health 'family'.

The shop is a real Aladdin’s cave with a comprehensive range of wholefoods and superfoods, top quality, yet affordable supplements and herbal remedies, herb teas, award winning natural and organic skin care,  eco-friendly household cleaning products with eco refill station, homeopathic remedies, crystals and a beautiful range of gifts and cards.

In addition to the shop and treatment rooms, Bare Health also has a busy wellness events programme. From quarterly ladies nights, journaling workshops, cooking demos, fermentation workshops, sound baths to weekly meditation classes. It really is a one stop shop for health and wellbeing.

‘Bare Health’ stands for health at its simplest and purist looking at health as a whole, addressing mind, body and soul. Their ethos is all about getting back to the 'bare' basics with a focus on identifying the underlying causes of dis-ease or ill health and finding tailored approaches to restoring, rebuilding and re-balancing health through optimum nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle changes.

October 2023 saw Bare Health celebrate its 12th year and from opening its doors with no customer base it has become a well-established and much loved High Street family business at the heart of the local community promoting the benefits of natural health and wellbeing to the families who drop by.



It’s clear that having family support is a real bonus when starting up a new business. Brontosaurus owner, Charlie Berry, tell her family business story: “My grandad, John Powell, used to own The Granary Health Shop in Mumbles, South Wales. I started my health shop journey with him at the age of 11 until he retired when I was around 19. I continued to work in the trade working for other heath retailers in the area, then opened my own shop - Brontosaurus Vegan Lifestyle Store - seven years ago. My store is 100% vegan and specialises in all things vegan, including nutrition.

“My grandad has been my biggest supporter, popping in to help when he can and being a ‘Saturday boy’ in his words. My mother, who also worked for my grandad when I was little, also comes to support me on my ‘Vegan Market’ days, where I host a mini vegan market in the centre of Swansea Market once a month.



A family run business since 1985, Clayton’s Herbalist is proud to have had three generations running the store over the decades. The family prides itself on customer service and holistic health care, forever increasing their knowledge and experience in nutrition, herbal medicine and holistic health care.

The family comprises mother and daughter, Georgy Thornhill and Claire Dexter, son Steven, granddaughters Amelie and Elaria.

Members of the family have studied all over the world from the UK to Switzerland and even Australia, justifiably proud of qualifications in anatomy and physiology, reflexology, holistic healthcare, nutrition and especially delighted with Claire recently receiving her qualification as a Master Herbalist. Clayton’s Herbalist sources the best quality ingredients and aims to cater for all dietary needs and religious requirements.

Truly a highly qualified and dedicated family business.



The Natural Choice is a family run business in the beautiful North Wales coastal village of Rhos on Sea.

Johnny and Jo Carpenter took over The Natural Choice almost 23 years ago. At that time they ran a vegetarian guesthouse. 

Jo tells the story: “Our daughter, Ceri, worked in Holland & Barrett, we lured her away and she joined us with all her supplement knowledge and love of food and cooking.  We are all passionate about good food and taking responsibility for our own health.

“In the winter of 2019, Ceri met the man of her dreams and left us to live and work in Lytham. At that time my sister, Fi, came to work with me looking for a part-time easy job, then lockdown hit!  “We have always been busy but Covid took it to a whole new level, and we both ended up working 50-hour weeks! We do Organic Veg boxes on a Wednesday, and overnight went from doing 20 to over 100!  Fortunately, Fi’s offspring came home from university and saved us, helping pack orders and helping Johnny with delivering.  Along with our lovely supportive locals we weathered the Covid storm and emerged the other side stronger, better, and busier than ever. 

“Fi brings artistic flair and new ideas to our business, and we have expanded our range of stock to include high-end culinary ingredients (she loves Yotam Ottolenghi), and we’re always on the lookout for something new and interesting.  We have always offered a wide range of really good quality supplements, wholefoods, eco cleaning products (including a whole range of refill options), eco skincare, organic fruit & veg, chilled and frozen goods, fresh local sourdough bread, local eggs and so much more.

“The newest member of our family is Manon, my 2-year-old granddaughter, she is being trained up as our Saturday girl and hopefully will be the future manager of the shop!

“If you need cheering up follow us on  Instagram @naturalchoice_rhos and watch the madness that  Fi gets up to when I let her loose with a phone and instructions to promote the business!”



Modern Herbals in Halifax celebrates 20 years in business in January 2024.

Wendy tells her story: “Starting out in the natural products industry as a distributor, in 2004, my sister Claire joined me in October the same year. Claire is 14 years my junior, so was 22 years old when she joined me. It wasn’t long before we moved into retail, at the time through sad circumstances, but we both took over and bought what was our account No.1, Halifax Health Store.

“We soon changed the name to Modern Herbals to keep both of the businesses under the same umbrella. Over the years we have grown the store, introducing many new brands and new lines. We have seen many changes. Back in 2006, sports nutrition was our best seller, now we barely sell any sports nutrition and crystals have become one of the ‘in-things’ in 2023.

“In 2008, we launched our website to support our high street sales, also launching on social media platforms to help  this grow and build popularity for our store.

“I Chaired the National Association of Health Stores for seven years from 2008 up until 2015, representing the Independent Health Food Stores sector, working with a Committee looking for ways to support the independent trade and working with other Associations to promote healthy living and ensure a continued supportive business and political environment.

“Claire has been a massive support to me at these times when went on Association trips and meetings away. Our Modern Herbals store is growing from strength to strength, Claire looks after all the website side of our business and social media campaigning, where as I get more involved in training, seeking new brands and products, and customer service. The finance is looked after by the two of us.”

Devoted sisters, Wendy and Claire are looking forward to next year when they celebrate their 20th year together, and are currently working on rebrand for their celebrations.


Family Business Week

Family Business Week is a week-long celebration of family businesses as a force for good.

Family firms are the backbone of the UK economy and the bedrock of our communities. However, the scale of their impact and contribution is often underestimated. Family businesses employ 13.9 million people, generate £1.7 trillion in turnover, and contribute £575 billion gross value added (GVA) to UK GDP.

Family Business Week is designed to recognise and celebrate the contribution family firms make to the economy and communities.  Led by Family Business UK, the week is an opportunity for everyone to get behind family businesses and show their support.

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