Debbie Logan is the owner of The Organic Natural and Whole-Food Emporium in Bryanston and founder of Jozi Real Food Revolution initiative. She is a passionate and committed food activist and journalist who has been selling produce from the best sustainable farms she can find in South Africa for the past seven years.
How did your business start?
Seven years ago, I took over a struggling online store from a woman who had started it. I started writing for the cause, educating people about what organic farming meant and why this food was so important, while combing the country to find the best organic and sustainable farms I could. We were an online store exclusively for five years until we opened our first store in the Bryanston Shopping Centre two years ago.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Our customers were predominantly based in this area, as were many of the suppliers and farmers that we had built up a relationship with over the years.
How did you find your premises?
We learnt that the premises we were running our online store from were going to be demolished, so we had to find a new site quickly and take the leap to open up a bricks-and-mortar store. Bryanston Shopping Centre, which was being renovated, was the closest area to move to without huge disruption to our customers.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Bryanston Shopping Centre is a mall that has a family- and community-oriented feel, and is currently in the process of changing its identity to attract a broad range of consumers and reviving the community feel in a more progressive way.
Who are your neighbours?
Cafe Del Sol and The Landmark bar.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Bryanston compared to the more trendy areas further south like Parkhurst, Houghton, Hyde Park and Sandton, still has more reasonable rents and a large concentration of consumers and schools.
How many people go through your store each day?
This varies so much I couldn’t put a figure on it. We have bustling days and quiet days.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Yes, we mean to open up a small organic harvest-table-type restaurant on the rooftop outside the store serving platters of the best meals we can make for the day using organic, seasonal ingredients. We would like to expand closer to the Parks areas as well as there aren’t many options there to get fresh organic food and sustainably and ethically reared meat, but there is a growing conscious consumer base there who have to drive to Bryanston to source this produce.
Do you operate online as well?
We no longer operate online and mean to focus on physical stores, harvest table restaurants, education and cooking events, and experiential connection from now on. This food is primarily about connection, experience and education. We need to connect to customers directly.
What’s your most popular item?
Farm milk and eggs, farm chickens and indigenous wholly veld-reared beef.
The Organic Natural and Whole-Food Emporium
011 514 0958
Words: Georgina Guedes
Images: Daniel Colpo of Frozen Time SA