Last month we launched our Back in Business campaign to help firms get on their feet again. JOE HARRIGAN speaks to the owner of a plastic-free organic and vegan health food shop in Rawtenstall to find out how the firm faced the challenge of opening on the cusp of the pandemic.

For businesses of the future, environmental concerns are only going to become more and more acute as governments work to embrace low carbon economies and more and more people turn to more environmentally conscious lifestyles.

Smaller firms can help lead the way from the ground up and that is exactly what health food shop Planet B in Rawtenstall has been doing, selling organic and vegan foodstuffs while operating a plastic free shopping space with environmental concerns right at the heart of the business model.

However, though the business is centred around sustainable living no-one could have anticipated the onset of the global covid-19 outbreak that hit just two weeks before the shop opened for business.

Owner Leigh Holmes said: “Luckily because we were still doing food, I was still able to continue deliveries during lockdown.”

“We weren’t sure how long this was going to go on for but luckily my mum was living with us at the time and she was able to help with the deliveries.

“Also, the community was really supportive.”

Indeed, it was support from the local community that helped the business come through a period that has been tough for firms across all kinds of different sectors all over the country.

As such Planet B was able to continue purveying its wide selection of environmentally sound products, ranging from flour, nuts and sweet treat to teas, hand sanitiser and much, much more.

Ms Holmes, a sometime DJ who has played gigs in Ibiza and Creamfields, found social media to be key to galvanising public support.

She said: “There was a lot of interest because we just kept posting constantly.”

Now as restrictions ease Ms Holmes is taking a cautious approach with one person allowed in at a time, face masks a strict requirement and hand sanitiser stationed around the premises.

“It’s been slow but steady because obviously some people are still in lockdown so I’m still doing deliveries on a Friday.”

Ms Holmes now hopes to expand the business with new branches planned in her native Gloucester.

She said: “It’s my little shop but it’s growing.”

Find out more about Planet B at

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