Cardiff’s beloved Beanfreaks will close its St Mary Street shop at the start of January 2021

After over three decades of trading at the heart of the Welsh capital, the health food store will shut at the beginning of next year

Beanfreaks St Mary Street shop front
The Beanfreaks St Mary Street store has been a high street landmark for 33 years

Following a tumultuous year and the gradual decline of the high street, the staple sustainable shop Beanfreaks will close its St Mary Street branch on 9 January 2021.

Covid-19 restrictions causing closures of independent stores is a narrative which started as early as the spring lockdown, and now the predictions are coming true. Victoria Perks, the director of Beanfreaks, confirms that the footfall through Cardiff has dramatically fallen during the pandemic.

“There can be no doubt city centre stores have been affected far worse than local community shops,” she claims, citing the decline in shoppers as one of the contributing factors for the Beanfreaks shop closure.

Cardiff City still has a very warm place in our hearts

Beanfreaks will offer free delivery to its Cardiff city centre community in 2021

But there’s more to the story than the coronavirus fallout. The decision to shut the flagship St Mary Street store was a combination of reasons, according to Victoria. 

Tough time for family businesses

People’s shopping habits have been gradually changing over the past few years, the Beanfreaks owner says, with more and more shoppers heading to their local stores or online. 

In the 33 years since the St Mary Street health food store first launched Cardiff’s pedestrian policy has changed the flow of shoppers, Victoria claims. What was once a thriving shopping street is now dominated by bars and restaurants.

This shift is not isolated to Cardiff either, she adds. It plagues family businesses across the country.

Surrounded by a supportive community

“We are more fortunate than a lot of businesses,” Victoria points out. Unlike many other retailers during the Covid-19 crisis, the owners of Beanfreaks have been lucky to have both supportive landlords and a loyal customer base. 

And while 3 St Mary Street closes its doors, Beanfreaks is not turning their back on the city centre. According to Victoria, “Cardiff City still has a very warm place in our hearts” and a new central location is a possibility in the future.

Beanfreaks sustainable health food store
Beanfreaks owner Victoria is feeling positive about the future of health food and sustainability
The sustainable future of health food stores

Beanfreaks director Victoria Perks, who is also a holistic nutritionist, is optimistic about the prospects for health stores. “The future is green,” she predicts, “with more emphasis on community stores, sustainability and looking after your health through diet, good nutrition, and immune support.”

Beanfreaks St Mary Street shop front announcement
While the St Mary Street shop is closing, the other two Beanfreaks store locations in Canton and Roath remain open
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