Wild & Free owners retire

After more than twenty years spent running Rugby’s only organic food store, Steve and Barbara Prime have hung up their aprons and retired from the Wild & Free shop. Read more

We popped in to ask them about their experience of trading in Rugby and reflected on two decades of healthy eating habits.

Wild & Free was originally situated on Railway Terrace. Steve and Barbara spent seven years here watching the rapid growth of the town, expansion of new housing developments and more independent shops opening in the town. They then moved to bigger premises in the town centre on Bank Street.

“We’ve definitely seen off the competition – no-one has lasted as long as we have!”  Steve said. This may well be down to the high levels of customer service, where the Primes were willing to go the extra mile and even offered free delivery – not just in Rugby – but all the way over to Daventry and surrounding villages.

Steve credits people like Delia Smith and Gillian McKeith for making customers think more carefully about what they bought, cooked and ate to lead a healthier lifestyle. Over the years Steve has also seen the growth of veganism play a major part in lifestyle choices and their products have adapted to such shifts in demand.

Wild & Free prides itself on offering hundreds of product lines that are organic, ethically sourced and Soil Association certified. Looking around the shop you will find everything from fresh, frozen and dried foods to toiletries, beauty products, vitamins and supplements.

The Primes also supported local producers and had long-established relationships with Jason’s Organic Butcher in Cotesbatch and Feldon Farm Organic Farm in Frankton. Last year the shop even featured on BBC1’s Countryfile, as presenter Tom Heap purchased vegetables in paper bags from them in a story about buying food with as little plastic and waste as possible.

After the Rugby Food and Drink Festival at the end of September, Steve and Barbara began their retirement and handed over the shop keys to the new owners Charles and Ceri Line. Charles said that they are looking forward to “holding on to what make this place so special and taking it to another level.”

We tried to prise an exclusive reveal from Charles about what he has planned for the shop, but he wouldn’t disclose any surprises, so you will just have to watch this space for future developments!