Secret Shopper Report: North Yorkshire

Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable

Our Secret Shoppers are scouring the highways and byways for the best of GB’s health food and natural lifestyle products. They’re looking for the perfect 10 in each of five sections and haven’t found it yet, but this one, in North Yorkshire, isn’t far off!

The Better Retailing Awards are run in conjunction with the Health Food institute and reward excellence in independent health store retailing. The winner is selected from the stores visited by the Better Retailing secret shoppers throughout the year.

Store location: North Yorkshire
Issue enquired about:
IBS support

First impressions

The store is situated in a bustling area of the city centre yet the store’s red, olde worlde exterior immediately draws your eye to it. I am initially impressed by the wide-ranging window display that gives an instant, informative overview of what can be found in store.

Verdict: 9/10

Store layout

Inside, the store is airy, clean, bright and inviting. There’s also plenty of room to move between the aisles. The store is well-stocked and features a number of leading natural health supplement ranges such as Solgar, A.Vogel, Nature’s Plus, Pukka Herbs and BetterYou. The layout of the store is easy to navigate and there’s a good balance between supplements, food, beauty and bodycare and eco household ranges.

The counter is located to the left as I enter the store and the staff are welcoming but not in any way pushy, giving me ample time to browse without being interrupted. As I am visiting with a friend, we particularly like this approach as we can browse at leisure without feeling rushed.

Verdict: 9/10

Personal attention

We are greeted with a cheery ‘hello’ on entering the store and the staff are easily identifiable by their uniformed black clothing. After browsing for a short while, I catch the eye of the lady behind the counter who asks if I need any help – perfect timing! I explain I am currently experiencing a bad flare-up of IBS and wonder if she can provide any advice on supplements that could help. She recommends Lepicol as it’s a high fibre supplement. I explain (rather bashfully) that I am experiencing frequent toilet trips so a high fibre dietary aid may not be ideal. However, I am impressed by her knowledge as she explains why a high fibre aid could still be beneficial. You learn something new every day as they say! She then advises that she may have a Lepicol sample pack so I could give it a try before going ahead and making a purchase. This is ideal as I am on the fence about whether it would be the right support to invest in for my type of diarrhoea-dominant IBS. She returns with a Lepicol sample pack and information booklet plus a second supplement sample for me to try. This is a digestive wellness enzyme and probiotic supplement from Nature’s Plus. We had briefly discussed how a good probiotic may also help with providing digestive support so I am pleasantly surprised with the probiotic sample.

Verdict: 10/10

Check out

The checkout service is fast and friendly. While in the store, I pick up something I’ve needed for a while – a magnesium supplement spray to help with muscle recovery (I’m a keen runner). The lady that provided the samples, beckons me over to her till and checks that I have everything I need while putting through my order. I explain that I would take the supplement trial packs away with me and see how I get on in. She agrees that is a good idea. I then enquire if I can buy online if I decide to purchase either supplement. I am informed that the website provides information on what the store stocks but it doesn’t have an online store function. However, mail order is available and I am advised that they try to keep postage costs as low as they can for customers outside of the local area. I am also given a leaflet with the store’s contact information on if I want further information or to take advantage of their mail order option.

Verdict: 9/10

Overall impression

The store is a real gem of a find and I am impressed by the friendliness, helpfulness and knowledge of the staff. I’ll definitely visit again when I’m next in the area. It’s a store I’d also happily recommend to friends and family.

Verdict: 9/10

Total marks: 46/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...