The Rainbow Wholefood store has moved to a new Norwich location
The owner of a popular whole food store in Norwich has said it will move after not agreeing to a reduction in its rent to reflect the impact of the coronavirus.
Rainbow Wholefoods, which has been based at Labor In Vain Yard off Guildhall since 2004, is set to move to a new permanent home in Davey Place next month.
Owner Richard Austin said the pandemic has greatly reduced merchandise, with customers still being served at the door due to restrictions on store size and placement.
Vegetarian restaurant Wild Thyme, which shares the building with Rainbow Wholefoods, closed last year.
“It had a big impact on us. It usually received all of our savings,” said Mr. Austin, who started the business in 1976 as a 26-year-old UEA philosophy graduate.
Negotiations with building owners for a reduced term on a new lease have failed prompting a search for new premises, he added.
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“When the owner just says your restaurant is closed by law, that’s a step too far for me,” he said.
“We probably wouldn’t have moved if it weren’t for that. So in that respect he really did us a favor.
“After Covid I don’t want to be in a hidden yard anymore, I want Rainbow to be a bit more in people’s faces because we don’t know if Norwich will get its footing back.
The move to Davey Place will be the third move in two years for the temporary store moved to Lower Goat Lane for 10 months following the fire.
The old Jessops building next to Lloyds Bank has been fully refurbished for the new store which will open early next month.
It will include a first floor cafe with Mr. Austin looking for an owner and running it.
“Every single one of that commodity has been hit by Covid but we want to get the right people. It has to be vegetarian and GM free,” he said.
Rainbow Wholefoods has been trading in Norwich for over 40 years and delivers a range of whole foods, organic and ethically sourced products as well as vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
It has been located on Dove Street for more than 30 years below the Tree House cafe that has introduced generations of vegetarian food eateries.