The first question we asked was ‘why open a health foods shop in the first place’? The owners of Sprout – Claire and Sebastian (Bast) – replied that they thought there was a genuine need in the town for such a business, the last one having closed about twelve years ago, meaning residents had to travel to a nearby town, buy online or rely on supermarkets which often don’t have consistent health food stock lines. Sprout prizes itself on supplying a diverse range of products, from basic, good quality foods and cooking ingredients that are key to a wholefood diet, whilst making sure they incorporate more specialist items that are important to those following a restricted diet, such as gluten-free or vegan eating. They also stock more obscure items not available in most high street shops: for example, raw, unpasteurised kefir, kombucha and apple cider vinegar as well as a huge array of raw foods and powdered ‘superfoods’ such as maca, alkalising greens, frozen acai and coconut or cashew-based dairy-free ice cream. One of Sprout’s favourite products is the Organic Scandinavian Fish Oil Liquid from the ethical nutritional supplement company Viridian Nutrition. The omega oils can be extremely beneficial to health and taste so palatable they can be taken straight from a spoon. The ‘Raw Paw’ activated nut biscuit base slices topped with raw chocolate, figs and ginger from their cake selection is another favourite because of the wonderful taste and the fact that they are so ridiculously nutritious.
Claire and Bast are particularly pleased to be able to stock numerous Cornish products, including honey harvested from bee hives in St. Columb Minor, as well as the Niskama natural skincare range, formulated in small batches in Newquay. Sprout is also happy to take requests for things they do not normally stock, as part of their provision of excellent customer service. While Sprout have a consistent product range, ensuring that their customers can always buy what they need, novel products are also kept in stock, especially at Christmas time when specialist gift items such as the St. Eval scented candles (the Figgy Pudding is a particular favourite), ultrasonic oil diffusers and reusable glass Keep Cups are available.
One of the aspects of Sprout that has become really popular with customers is the café element of the business – the ‘Sprout Pot’ is a daily hotpot lunch option that is vegan-friendly and gluten-free. The range includes a nutritious dal (or dhal), fragrant curry, filling chilli, sweet and sour tagine and the wonderful African peanut stew. Sprout also sells vegan and gluten-free pasties, made locally by The Vegan Cornish Pasty Company in St. Agnes, homemade lattes such as turmeric and matcha made from a variety of plant ‘milks’ and the ‘Knockout’ blend of espresso coffee from Olfactory Coffee Roasters in Penryn. To go with the hot drinks are a range of raw cakes from Pura Pressed, which are packed full of flavour as well as being gluten-, dairy- and refined-sugar free. All the Sprout food and drink can be taken away for a tasty and nutritious lunchtime treat at home or the office or can be eaten at the bustling communal table that has become a welcome hub for visitors and residents.
One of Claire and Bast’s aims when opening Sprout was to provide a friendly meeting and events space in the centre of Newquay, complimenting already existing spaces. During shop opening hours there have been product tasting sessions from Coconuts and Booja-Booja dairy-free ice-creams, Pana Chocolate and The Raw Chocolate Pie Co. chocolates. Workshops have included sessions on fermented and wholefood products, informative talks hosted by an array of qualified therapists and fantastic wild food workshops with local forager extraordinaire Jon Dale. Sprout also uses the space out of hours, providing sunrise yoga sessions, an arthouse cinema night – ‘Sprout Cine’ – landscape painting workshops, mindfulness courses, sound healing meditation sessions, and educational film screenings. Future plans include hosting vegan-friendly, fine dining supper clubs and a Virtual Reality experience designed to reconnect participants with the cosmos. All Sprout’s events are publicised on their Facebook and Instagram pages (see links at the end), as well as posters within the shop.
BID asked Sprout what the best thing was about running a business in Newquay. They replied that, having lived in Newquay for over ten years, it feels great to be part of the vibrant community of the town: “we love this special spot on the North coast of Cornwall, are proud of our town and are happy to be contributing in a positive way to the Newquay scene”. BID also asked what piece of advice Sprout would give to prospective business owners in the town: their response was to “get involved and give it a go. Be there for the locals and help to contribute to a thriving year-round economy”.
Sprout are especially proud of their knowledgeable team of staff who are always happy to give advice or find out more for the customers. Claire is a qualified Nutritional Therapist with over six years of working in a health food shop, Laura is a qualified practitioner of Systematic Kinesiology, Sarah has completed a foundation degree in Health and Nutrition and is soon to begin a Nutritional Therapy course, while Beka has a degree in Environmental Science and Education. Bast himself has a personal understanding of skin-related health issues together with diet and lifestyle measures to support this and has tried just about every food product that Sprout sells. This extensive range of knowledge and experience provided by the Sprout staff enables the team to offer personalised advice and support to their customers. As Claire says, it is becoming accepted knowledge that gut health really is the key to a lot of health issues and the team can recommend a wide range of food products to support this in a powerful way. Supplements from their Renew Life range are fantastic at helping repair the gut lining, normalising bowel movement functioning, or cleansing the system if a bacterial, yeast or parasitic imbalance is present. The Sprout team find it immensely rewarding to receive great feedback regarding their products and the positive effects on their customers health and wellbeing.
Future developments for Sprout in 2018 look very exciting: the team would like to renovate their little outdoor courtyard space for a seating area for customers and their dogs to relax in on bright, sunny days. One of the things that has been really enjoyable for the Sprout team since opening is getting to know their regular customers “as they are such an eclectic, friendly and welcoming bunch” and so providing a space outside for residents and visitors to enjoy is a key aim for the business, which prides itself on promoting health, community, vitality and fun.
Sprout Health Foods can be found at The Old Printhouse, Crescent Lane, Newquay. See below for social media and website links.