How to start a health food store

This growing industry could give you some healthy profits, read our business guide to help you get started...

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How much does it cost to launch a health store business?

It is impossible to pin down an exact figure for how much your health food shop will cost to set up, as this depends on several factors such as location, amount of stock and services provided.

The cost of buying freehold premises varies in much the same way as house prices vary throughout the country. In the current climate, property prices are dropping, but small premises in a less expensive region will still set you back from £60,000 to over £300,000 plus for a large property in a prime location. Yearly rental costs on leasehold sites, meanwhile, could cost from £8,000 upwards.

You will need to fit out and decorate your shop – a cash till, credit card facilities and a storeroom are essential.

Obviously, you also need stock to sell and workers to employ. Always keep in mind regulations such as the minimum wage and the Working Hours Directive when employing your staff. A small health food shop will just need one or two assistants, but as your store grows, you may wish to add allergy testing and other services to your customers, and this will involve employing a professional – and that means paying a professional wage.

Although this can be done on a part-time basis rather than having a full-blown treatment room for ailing customers, you may want to wait until your firm is on a steady footing before you go down this path.

With stock, there is a wide range of suppliers to choose from. Shop around before coming to a decision, and keep in mind that as a new business you won’t be extended massive amounts of credit, so exercise caution in your initial period of trading.

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Paul Wick, manager of Southville Deli in Bristol says: “It cost us around £16,000, including £4,000 on an initial outlay of stock. This included flooring, decoration and shelving.

“In addition we hired chillers, and our coffee supplier lent us a coffee-grinder.”