It was 1976, and after a swelteringly hot summer, strikes, unrest and unemployment, good news came to the town – Swindon Pulse, an independent co-operative opening offering healthy food, sourced locally and without additives, opened.
The first wholefood shop was way ahead of its time and 35 years later, Pulse, on Curtis Street, is one of the oldest continually operating wholefood cooperatives in Britain and the longest running, independent food retailer in Swindon town centre.
In the early days goods were sold from the back of a Morris Minor van in Swindon’s market. Today, customers can pop into the shop and select from a wide range of fair trade and organic food. With the coming festive season in mind, check them out for gift vouchers and hampers.
All four staff are equal in the business and receive the national minimum wage – pictured Colin Cabbage and Cath Dolling.
Colin Cabbage, explained, "Most staples are competitively priced against supermarkets products – sometimes cheaper – and you don’t have to spend hours reading labels for nasty chemicals. Local produce has fewer food miles and we often track down and order single items for customers. The most important aims and objectives of Swindon Pulse were, and still are, to promote an affordable and healthy way of living, with minimal exploitation of people, planet, and animals".
A visit to Swindon Pulse is a bit like going back in time to the traditional corner food shop with foodstuffs in jars and baskets, where you chat to co-op members as they weigh out goods. Its certainly worth a visit.