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Words: Kit Heathcock | Images: Sarah de Pina

Sans Grocer and Sans Home Goods, along with Pauline’s stand-up coffee bar, are new ventures from the founders of Loading Bay, JP and Nicol Bolus. Nicol tells us more about their side-by-side retail spaces at the Artem Galleria in Sea Point.

How did your business start?

Throughout the years of connecting with the sources and suppliers for our retail and restaurant endeavours at Loading Bay, we felt the need to take the conversation further. The logical step was into the home. The question was: how can we better support and facilitate positive experiences and changes in our daily life. So we started Sans as a way to connect and interact with source. Our grocer introduces local communities to farmers, makers and producers grounded in holistic practices. Similarly, our lifestyle store shares items gathered from around the world that are designed with care and intent. Both spaces are about bringing joy and mindfulness to daily rituals in a space that’s open and welcoming to all.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

We live in the neighbourhood ourselves and feel really connected to the community. But we also saw real opportunity. Sea Point has a very diverse community – it’s a suburb that people still walk around and it’s a busy commuter node. That presence on the street meant that we could engage with people as a regular part of their lives and not just a once-off destination. It’s also an area that has gone through phases of success and neglect and we want to be a part of its regeneration.

How did you find your premises?

We’d been looking for a while but nowhere was 100% right. When the owner of Artem, Ahsan Darvesh, a regular customer at Loading Bay, invited us to come and see the new centre, it all just came together.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

Accessibility is important and there is secure parking and good security at Artem. Pauline’s location opening on to the street corner supports its role as a meeting point for the community. We’re also looking at getting street access for Sans grocery.

Who are your neighbours?

Runners’ Rest, a running store, Coco Safar, a specialised patisserie, and a diverse selection, from Sorbet to an art gallery and Pick n Pay.

What are the rental prices like in this area?

Sea Point varies hugely and the market isn’t consistent at the moment. Artem is in the upper bracket for the area due to the high level of facilities it offers.

How many people visit your business each day?

It’s growing every day, but we’re so young it’s hard to give accurate figures. It’s more about the quality of the conversation, serving one customer at a time.

Do you have any expansion plans?

We dream of opening more Sans spaces in time. We also want to move beyond retail into spaces like hospitality and tourism experiences, and into community projects around food production and security.

Do you operate online as well?

We will look to selling our home goods online in time.

What’s your most popular item?

In Pauline’s a good cup of coffee and the vegan treats. In Sans grocery we pride ourselves on our sour-dough and we’ve had people fighting over the last loaf!

Sans Community

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