Green shoots…

Good & Green wellbeing emporium may have only been in Tunbridge Wells for just under two years but it’s a popular pillar of the local community. Here its manager Victoria Richards tells Eileen Leahy why its relationship to its customers and sourcing of quality products and practitioners makes it so unique…


Stepping over the threshold of Good & Green on Tunbridge Wells High Street I’m immediately struck by its relaxed and welcoming ambience. Instead of politely ignoring my presence as is the case in so many other places, the staff in this busy health emporium greet me with big smiles and a cheery ‘hellos’ before asking me how I am. So far, so not very retail…

While I wait to meet Good & Green’s manager, Victoria Richards, I’m asked if I’d like a coffee. A quick glance at Good & Green’s extensive hot drinks menu reveals that as well as regular lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, there are also more prescriptive offerings such as turmeric and beetroot lattes as well as cups of delicious – and pretty rare to find – Mörk hot chocolate. This is certainly a well curated selection – but then as I later discover that is fundamentally the whole ethos of the Good & Green brand…

Waiting for my regular flat white, I note that the majority of customers milling around the ground floor of Good & Green – which sells everything from fresh bread and supplements to ethical skincare and eco candles – are very happy to chat away at length to the friendly members of staff. This is definitely not a ‘grab and go’ type venture but definitely more of a community.

When Victoria appears from her basement office she invites me up to ‘the lounge’ which is in fact the café’s seating area and situated on the second floor of the four-storey building.

The space is big and again, very welcoming, with lovely high ceilings and comfy seating. When I admire the art hanging on the walls Victoria tells me it’s by a local painter and that the work changes seasonally. “We don’t charge artists to display here, it’s nice to be able to offer them the space in order to showcase their work,” she smiles as we take a seat in a cosy corner.

With free WiFi on tap this must be a place where a lot of people come to spend time I say.

“Oh yes and unlike a lot of other places we actively encourage all that,” states Victoria. “I know every single person in here. There are those who come every day to work for a few hours and others who meet friends here for a chat or dash in after the school run.”

Also located on this floor is a rather bijou baby gifts area which Victoria tells me will soon be turned into a bespoke hamper gifting station where people can make up a tailormade offering for any occasion. Up a further flight of stairs is Good & Green’s recently renovated studio and treatment room which is now fully operational.

“The idea is that local practitioners can come here and hire the spaces without paying a fortune. We now have people offering everything from reiki to yoga and massage to nutritional advice,” reveals Victoria.

When she took on the role of general manager at Good & Green, Victoria tells me that she had a very clear vision.

“I wanted to run a health emporium that covers all aspects of physical and mental wellbeing. For me it was also about trying to create a genuine community. It had to be personable and a place where you could get pretty much everything from supplement support to concern and care.”

Prior to running Good & Green, Victoria was actually managing Emilio’s café which launched instore when the premises opened in May 2021.

“When I took over we decided to integrate the café into the shop as it just worked better. I’ve worked in hospitality retail for nearly two decades – mainly in London – so have a lot of customer facing experience,” she adds.

“This is actually the second Good & Green site in the South East. The first opened in East Grinstead around six years ago as a result of the original G&G supplements brand being established there in 1965. They have always been ethical and transparent and this is reflected in the ethos of their two stores,” says Victoria.

She goes on to say that this very much chimes with her own way of doing things: “I believe that everyone who comes through that door should be treated like a friend. It’s so important to know that our customers are being well catered for. One of my big things is to actively look for products if people can’t find them in store. Tailoring orders that are specific to our demographic makes a huge difference.”

Victoria also tells me that aiming for zero to landfill is a big goal too as it shows a responsible and firm commitment to the environment.


“One of the big things I have done is to join the Too Good To Go scheme in order to minimise the amount of food being wasted. Our customers can download the app and buy a mystery bag of bread and pastries worth £12, for just £4, at the end of each day. And it works as we now have practically zero waste and don’t even have to take the bins out.”


Victoria also tells me that the Tunbridge Wells branch of Good & Green is now an official safe space for all who enter into it. “We are currently working with the local police to have a specific word people can use here if they feel threatened by anyone. People need to know they are safe when they come here. Everyone is welcome. The only things that aren’t welcome are aggression and hate.”

Victoria is equally passionate about the wellbeing of her staff: “I want to give people opportunities which is why I put them through in-depth training sessions two to three times a week. Working here isn’t just sitting behind the counter. My team are not just there to make sales. The whole point is customers know they can trust our advice because we have all been trained. We spend a lot of time talking to customers about what they want and we work hard to curate a carefully selected range of items. They are chosen on their efficacy and whether they are natural, sustainable and ethical. You can tailor as much as you want when you work for an independent brand like Good & Green.”

Victoria also reveals that she doesn’t believe in the hard sell either. “The last thing I want when I’m out shopping is to be bombarded by people. I want an organic experience, which is what we believe we have created here. If people want something they will buy it. We never intrude; we are here to help and have hopefully created a space that people love and want to spend time in.”

And from my short time at Good & Green that’s certainly what I have seen to be the case. Whether it’s the chap behind us sipping his coffee and tapping away on his laptop, or the small group situated by the window conducting an interview with a prospective new employee, or indeed the clusters of customers downstairs browsing the well-stocked shelves, this really is a community which everyone is very welcome to become a part of.

“As soon as you come through our door we hope it’s like a hug. Everyone is welcome, everyone is safe. We are fully invested from the moment people come in to the moment they leave. What we have here is very special. And let’s face it, there aren’t many places around where you can have a cup of coffee, get a massage, have a friendly chat and stock up on your groceries for the week,” smiles Victoria.


The Good & Green Story

In 1965 Sheila Gaiman, a founding member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, developed a range of high-strength, high-quality supplements that would be available over the counter – not just dispensed via the chemist. With her specialist knowledge and her husband’s entrepreneurial spirit G&G Vitamins was born…

The pair went on to create one of the largest manufacturers of encapsulated supplements in the UK and also, some years later, created a burgeoning health food shop in their local town of East Grinstead.

As the company passed from one generation to the next, the family decided it was time to revamp and renew their little store in East Grinstead. So in 2016 they found a larger premises right in the centre of the town and rebranded as Good & Green.

In May 2021 Good & Green opened their second site in Tunbridge Wells High Street and the store, which now boasts a café and a wellbeing studio and treatment room, continues to go from strength to strength.

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