Kimberly Skull welcomes me to Butterworth’s, where I visit regularly, sometimes just for the wonderful smells that greet me as I pass through the continental-style metal chain doorway. Kimberly also runs the shop’s website (http://www.butterworths-healthfoods.co.uk/) although, as she points out, you can’t enjoy the smell of a website.
Trevor and Margaret Barrett acquired the business in 2001. I asked what it was that brought them to Bury; the answer I got was, ‘A Citroën C5’, which serves me right, really. Margaret has a background in catering and qualifications in nutrition, so it all came together nicely. Trevor thought they could give the shop a new direction and ascribes 100% of the success to the staff. According to the staff, anyway. Trevor also describes himself as an adventurous epicurean (epicurean: devoted to sensual pleasures and luxury, especially good food). For those of us lacking the benefits of a classical education, Epicurus was a Greek philosopher, for whom the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterised by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear—and aponia—the absence of pain—and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. That suits Trevor rather well, I think.
I visit mostly for ingredients for my cooking. Fresh ginger, lemon grass, coriander; every dried spice you can imagine, seeds, pulses, bran; noodles, basmati, whole grain, gluten-free breads and baking; tins of exotic substances – try the crispy chili, it is divine. Lots of different coffee bean varieties, which Karly will take as long as you want to explain to you, before grinding the beans perfectly for you to take home. There is obscure seafood so interesting that you might have a conversation with it rather than cook it. But there is more, much much more. There are herbal remedies, homebrew, natural organic body care and a large area given over to Ecover products, which are organic cleaning materials for the most part, and which I use all the time.
It’s the smell, though. It is like being in an oriental bazaar. I close my eyes and imagine.
I discover that everyone on the team has a story to tell. Karly’s sister Hollie has always been passionate about travel and started writing a blog to save on postcards. One of my favourites from her blog goes: ‘There’s nothing I love more than sitting on a train with my face pressed up against the window, watching snapshots of life rushing by. And maybe a good cup of Chai.’ I adore railway travel, too, and Hollie’s words resonate with me. Karly sings in a band which calls itself The Machismo's, find them on Facebook; the Bury Fringe all day event is their next gig. And she plays guitar. Loraine keeps bees, developing an interest in alternative therapies. Wonderful stuff, honey. And, with both Kimberly and Hollie both having degrees in English Literature, you won’t be surprised that they run a book club.
So – fascinating people, utterly charming and passionate about what they do, at work and outside. Selling amazing produce, carefully sourced and tidily presented. What more could you want?
9 The Traverse Bury St Edmunds Suffolk IP33 1BJ
Tel: 01284 755410 Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 9am - 5.30pm
Member since: 1st February 2013
Born in the baby boomer years, John Urquhart was educated in London and Scotland including a year as a schoolmaster before studying Medicine at St Thomas' Hospital. This took him back to London and Surrey...