Unpackaged: A Success Story


We first wrote about Unpackaged when it was a little stall with a big idea. That idea was selling affordable organic and fair trade dry foods such as nuts, grains, beans, rice, sugar and dried fruits unpackaged. You brought your own container or were sold a handy reusable one. Now Catherine Conway has graduated to opening her own shop in a funky residential area where she has expanded her philosophy. She still sells dried fruits and nuts and fair trade teabags and coffees. There is delicious looking muesli and other cereals for breakfast fare. Some of the vendors from her street market days are selling their goods in her shop too. The organic vegetables are from a Norfolk based farm. And the cakes and flapjacks are from a neighbourhood baker.

Conway is delighted that the shop serves a very local clientele who can pop in for everything from light bulbs to recycled toilet paper. Supporting her concept, almost 70% of the customers bring reusable bags with them. The shop used to be a local Welsh dairy and then sat empty for years with all its old glass milk bottles stacked up and visible from the dirty shop windows. It still has the same mirrors and polished wood and Lloyds Dairy signs but now there is a wonderful bouquet of flowers set amidst the brussel sprouts. Conway's next project? She's not sure yet. It will be something to do with social enterprise, but she definitely doesn't want to turn into the Starbuck's of organic food stores. :: Unpackaged