Published: 12:06, 23 May 2019
| Updated: 14:41, 13 September 2019
A popular independent wholefood and herbalist shop in Whitstable high street has closed.
Herbaceous has been run for about 17 years by Belinda Murray - whose special blends of home-grown herbs are well-loved by customers.
The shop - sitting with its familiar frontage beside St Alphege School in Oxford Street - stocked everything from extra virgin olive oils and organic rice to gifts from ethical suppliers.
Belinda offered a wide range of environmentally friendly supplies, including refillable cleaning products and toiletries, plastic-free sandwich bags and washing-up sponges, and even individual loo rolls.
But now the experienced herbalist has taken the tricky decision to close down her store.
“I’ve been here about 17 years, maybe more,” Belinda explained.
“I started over the road in the back of the tattoo parlour, then shared this property with the pram shop. But that left so I’ve been here ever since.
“It’s my decision to go - I’m not being forced out. I was on holiday and I had time to think and look at the options.
“I’m 60 this year - my husband’s older than me. I think of this an opportunity rather than a negative thing - to catch up with other things and do things I’ve always wanted to, and spend some more time with my husband.”
The closure has been met with sadness from residents.
Karen Tranquille said: “Such a shame - so sad to lose another independent store. Such a useful shop too, especially as we all try and reduce our plastic waste.”
But Belinda says she plans to continue trading in Whitstable.
“I’m going to be popping up at the farmers market and I can do refills there and I can do some of my herbs,” she said.1
“I’ll still be growing herbs and I’m involved with a lot of things like the community garden, Plastic Free Whitstable, the carnival, and Mustard Seed Singers.”
To her customers, she said: “Thank you for all your support, for the fun times, the laughter and the interesting characters. I like having music on in the shop, and some customers liked to come in and have a bit of a dance. It was lovely.
“What a pleasure it’s been being around them and having the shop.”
Belinda will be posting updates on the Herbaceous Facebook page.