Get Set Grow: FillFull
Founders: Alice Bardwell and Dan Prince
Est: 16th August 2018
This month, we feature FillFull, a zero-waste shop based in Ottery St Mary. The shop stocks gluten and dairy free foods, gifts and household items, which are also available online. The ethos behind the shop is to help the community use less plastic and generally to use less and reuse more.
We asked Dan to give us a little background on the business:
The idea for Fillfull was originally born out of personal circumstance when I discovered that I have food allergies. This completely changed my diet and one of the things that struck me was that convenience food was difficult to find. After a little research, I found an amazing supplier called Let Them Eat, based in Saltash, that made delicious gluten and dairy free products. There was clearly a gap in the market to open a food shop. As a family, we had long been conscious of the environmental and health benefits of eating organic foods and had also been trying to reduce our household plastic use. Having a plastic-free policy seemed to fit perfectly with the ethos behind an organic, allergy free environment, so we started to plan the shop.
Talk us through the day to day running of the business, and how things are going so far:
The shop is currently open six days a week and is open late on a Thursday. It has been well received in Ottery St Mary and I’ve had a very positive and warm reception from the community; people seem to really understand what the shop is about. The customer base is varied, and people travel from all over East Devon to visit. Ages range from the older generation, buying a few items, to the younger generations buying vegan produce – they are conscious of the current plastic issues and the need to reduce our negative impact on the world around us.
And finally, what are your plans for the future?
I hope plastic-free shopping becomes the norm for people. It would be great if there could be a shop like Fillfull in every town, doing their bit to ‘fly a flag’ for making good eco-choices. The conversations I’ve had locally give me the sense that shops like FillFull help to revive a sense of community.
Holidaying visitors to the shop have asked if I could open shops in all sorts of places and the support behind the business has been so positive that I am planning to open more shops throughout the area. For now, however, I’m concentrating on our lovely little town of Ottery St Mary, and meeting the needs of our customers. I’m often asked if I sell teas and coffees to take away, so there’s a market for adding a small-scale coffee shop element, with a few tables. I need to make a few renovations to the property for this to be possible, but I’m already making those plans for the New Year. I’m always extending my stock range as customer requirements change. I have a good range of locally made products, so it really is a local business bringing the community together.