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10 Dec 2020

Bira member Wild Oats marks 40th anniversary

Bira member Wild Oats - Bristol’s oldest independent health store - has celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Here, owner Mike Abrahams shares his journey to the landmark birthday.

In late 1979 Mike and his Dutch girlfriend Loes were both working at the European Space Technology Centre in Noordwijk. A desire to make a living in a more sustainable and environmentally sound way spurred them on to take over a small health food store in 1980. A store that is regarded as a Bristol institution and a pioneer in its field, Wild Oats Natural Foods.

Fast forward to January 2021 and the independent health store is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

So how has it grown from the small delicatessen it once was to the health hub of the community it is today?

Mike and Loes have always had a passion for good nutrition and wholefoods so their knowledge of health products was second-to-none. But there weren’t many health shops around when they took over Wild Oats in 1980, so navigating that gap in the market was no easy feat. Before its opening in 1981, the store closed for 6 months while a team of friends and family worked tirelessly to refurbish it. Shelves were stocked with natural foods mostly imported from Holland as they weren’t readily available in the UK at the time and a pioneering self-service area was hand built. This self-service area meant customers could fill their own containers to reduce waste, and now even the big supermarkets have followed Wild Oats’ lead by installing their own self-service areas.

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Over the 40 years Wild Oats has welcomed people from all walks of life, and as well as providing a vast range of healthy foods and products, has helped countless people with a plethora of conditions that conventional medicine and diets have failed, not to mention the various local charities. They even have their own success story, with Mike himself managing to recover from a debilitating illness utilising the wide range of natural foods and products from the store. The store is a vital part of the local community, serving both the people of Redland and Clifton and in running various talks and workshops about health and natural medicine alongside helping local suppliers and businesses grow far beyond the local area.

Wild Oats has grown but still maintains the same original ethos and now, more so than ever, the store is here to help everyone by offering free dietary and nutritional advice that gives you the power to take responsibility for your own health.

During Covid-19, Wild Oats set up a local delivery and collection service to ensure those who are unable to come directly to store can still access their essentials, likewise their newly revamped e-Commerce site is available to help those around the country.

Wild Oats continues to pioneer new tastes and trends in the health food market and is already preparing for the future. As they see the world adapting, Wild Oats will be there as it has been for 40 years, to help those on their journey. Whether it’s for Veganuary, ethical or dietary reasons, Wild Oats will help you live better. So, drop by and see why this fantastic independent business has been an institution for Bristol’s Vegetarian and Vegan community for so long.

Visit the Wild Oats website here

Got a story to share? Email emily.bridgewater@bira.co.uk


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