Interview With One Of Our Lovely Stockists, Sans Store Forest Hill

We are so happy to be stocked in this lovely store in Forest Hill. They opened during the pandemic and I was curious to discover their experience of this. Here is an interview with one of the owners. Thank you for your time and the kind words, Max!

1. How did you come up with the name for your shop?

Sans is the French word for ‘without’. We are a veggie/ vegan deli with a wide selection of free from produce. So without fish, meat, gluten etc. We are also keen to reduce the amount of waste/ packaging that we produce and use. Developing our refillable range is a key focus for us over the next year and onwards. My partner Cloé is French so Sans just seemed to fit the brief nicely!

2. What was your mission when opening your shop?   

Our main mission was to bring high quality, locally sourced produce to the area, having lived here for 10 years meant that we knew what the area was missing and what would work well. We try to support independents as much as possible, more local the better - Oh My Choc is a perfect fit for us!

3. What made you choose the location?

We know the area well and this end of Brockley Rise has been in need of a bit of TLC for some time. It is also good in terms of footfall and other local amenities; GP, pharmacy, bike shop etc.

4. You opened the shop during the pandemic. What was your experience of this?

Generally speaking the pandemic/ lockdowns were great for local businesses like ours, increased footfall and people wanting to avoid busy supermarkets. Obviously some challenges with staffing and shortages with produce. On the whole we were very lucky that we could stay open and trade unlike most other businesses. 

5. What are your favourite things about owning a shop?

For me, the local customers and surrounding community first and foremost. We are very lucky in that the area really tries to support local businesses and our regulars are a great bunch. The variety of work I get to do and exposure to amazing new brands and produce are also a real pull for me and the team.

6. Do you work mainly with local suppliers?

We try to as much as possible, this isn’t always feasible depending on the type of product. 

7. Do you think more people are shopping locally since the pandemic?

I would say yes, but we started during the pandemic but have nothing to compare to... I will say that since the easing of restrictions and cost of living crisis that has hit everyone recently. We have noticed a drop in footfall and average spend, other business in the area have noticed the same. I think it will be a difficult year or so for many small operations. Plenty of opportunity at the same time though! 

8. What are your favourite food items in the store?

I am a huge fan of our vegan cheese selection, the I Am Nut Okay - Fetamorphasis is awesome, I also think our tequila/ mezcal selection is the best in town… Cloé, being french, loves her cheese and our range from the French Comté brings some of her native favourites right to her door! Oh My Choc is also a new fave of ours, obvs.