Secret Shopper Report: Tyne & Wear

Looking for a specialist supplement? Call first!

Our Secret Shoppers are scouring the highways and byways for the best of GB’s health food and natural lifestyle independents. Giving marks out of 10 in each of five sections, our shopper went to a quaint village health store in Tyne & Wear to see how they measure up.

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: Tyne & Wear
Issue enquired about:
Sleep support

First impressions

The store is situated in the middle of the main street of a beautiful north-east village and is easy to spot. As I approach the health store and café, I’m immediately struck by how pretty it looks. A mock green lawn leads you to the store’s front and the window display provides an informative indication of the range of supplements that can be found in store.

Verdict: 8/10

Store layout

Inside, the store is colourful, airy and clean. I’m immediately greeted with a cheery hello from the man behind the counter when I walk in.

Yet, I’m quickly drawn to the rather strange layout as I continue inside. The main focus of the store is the café and the natural health side (of which there is an ample range) is positioned towards the rear of the store and on shelves towards the left of the café area. This does mean when you’re looking around, you have to be aware of customers sitting in the café so this can affect the space you have as a result. I was conscious of potentially catching a café customer with my shoulder bag so opted to leave it at a nearby table so I had a little more space to move around.

The store is quite well stocked and features a number of leading supplement ranges such as Viridian, Solgar, Nature’s Aid, Pukka and Udo’s Choice. There’s a good balance between foods, drinks, supplements, beauty, bodycare and eco household ranges.

Verdict: 7/10

Personal attention

The staff are welcoming and are not in any way pushy. I have ample time to browse the store’s stock. In fact, I’m not approached at any time to see if I need any help. I’m looking for a magnesium supplement to aid my slightly erratic sleep but cannot find anything suitable. In the end, I opt for a cherry juice drink as a natural health alternative and head to the counter to pay.

Verdict: 5/10

Check out

The checkout service is fast and friendly. I am served by the cheery man that said hello on entering the store. While paying for the cherry juice, I describe what I’m looking for and ask if they have any additional supplements that aren’t on display. The store’s assistant goes off to check and also looks at what is available in the store but returns to say no and apologises that they don’t have anything else suitable at the moment. I am already aware of the store’s website which offers general information on what they offer (as I checked the address on there before setting off), so I don’t ask about them having an online store option. When checking about mail order, I find they offer collection only which isn’t ideal for customers that live further afield.

Verdict: 6/10

Overall impression

If I could sum the store up in one word it would be ‘pretty’! It really is beautiful but if you’re looking for a specific supplement, it might be advisable to call ahead of your visit to check they have what you need before you make the trip.

Verdict: 7/10

Total marks: 33/50

Read the previous Secret Shopper report here...