Owner of popular health food shop who started out on Bromley Market calls it a day after 35 years

PUBLISHED: 11:56 03 October 2016

Marion Allen outside her health food shop during the 1980s

Marion Allen outside her health food shop during the 1980s


Marion Allen started out with a stall on the town’s market in 1981

The owner of a popular Bromley health food shop that began life as a market stall in 1981 has decided to call it a day after 35 years in the business.

Marion Allen, who owns Health Matters on Widmore Road, sold dried fruits, nuts and cereals when she started out on Bromley Market, before buying up Bromley Health Centre one year later.

The Chislehurst resident expanded the business to Petts Wood, Chislehurst, Maidstone and Ashford, and later taught vegetarian cookery classes in Bromley and Swanley, as well as giving talks on healthy eating.

“I started with a market stall in Bromley on Thursday market and in those days it was more about natural foods,” Mrs Allen explained.

“Nowadays the byword is superfoods and people want natural remedies and skin care, so it is different.

“We have seen different types of customers coming into the shop. In the old days it was the die-hard vegetarians, but now it is a wide range of customers and people trying to get their families to eat healthily.”

Healthy eating has become ever more popular in recent years, but despite her early arrival onto the scene, the 64-year-old said she did not believe herself to be a pioneer.

“The health food trade has been a pioneer in showing people where they can buy foods,” she said.

“I have only done a little bit. The health food trade is the pioneer and so it should be teaching people what they put on their skin is absorbed into their bodies and can have various effects.”

The shop will close for good this Saturday - 35 years to the day since Mrs Allen began trading on her market stall.

“We would like to see as many customers as possible – it would be nice to catch up with everyone,” she said.

“People have already been coming in, and it has been bittersweet. In many ways I am sad to be finishing it.”

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