Organic store springs back to life

Ladies with a love of organics. From left: Laura Bougourd, Jan Hearn and Angela Lehmkuhl. Photo: John Borren.

The closure of a popular Tauranga organic store left staff worried about their future until two men with a passion for organics stepped in to fill the gap.

Laura Bougourd worked at Wild Earth for four years and says the closure came as shock but being offered a job at Simply Organic, a new organic grocer, is like a lifeline.

“Because you've just come out of going through COVID, you're going through this disaster. And then all of a sudden, somebody appears with exactly what you want to be doing,” says Laura.

“We can continue doing what we love.”

Five staff from Wild Earth have jobs at the new store.

Wild Earth was closed by parent company Huckleberry, on May 29, because issues were identified with the condition of the building. When the issues were presented to the landlord they decided not to spend the money to bring it up to a safe standard, says Huckleberry group CEO Pablo Kraus.

Loyal customer Christian heard about the closure and decided to partner with friend Werner Kreutz, to open Simply Organic just a few doors down.

Christian says Wild Earth had a large customer base and they wanted to continue providing organic products to Tauranga by opening Simply Organic.

“It was a thing of my heart to help the girls and I saw how hard they worked there and all the customers were happy.”

Store manager Angela Lehmkuhl says they are really lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of opening the new store and having input in its direction.

Werner says it’s important they retained staff from the previous store because they are well known to the organic community.

“There's a lot of heart blood in it, so it's not just opening a shop. It's more than that, it's like a big family community here, so it's a little bit different to just a normal business.”

Laura agrees that the staff and customers are like a family and she’s excited to see them all when they open on July 22. Simply Organic is at 771 Cameron Road.

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