AN INDEPENDENT town centre health food shop has closed its doors this week.

Claire Henderson, owner of Naturally Health Foods in Waterloo Court, said a fond farewell to the shop and customers on Tuesday, 26 September after more than three years of trading.

The decision to close the shop comes following a personal tragedy earlier in the year.

Claire, who has also been a nurse for more than 40 years and works for St John’s Winchester Charity, took over Naturally Health Foods in March 2014.

The 61-year-old was inspired to take the store over when she visited the business three days before the previous owner was due to close.

She said: “I literally walked in and said, ‘No, you can’t shut it!’”

Her spontaneous decision built on an established interest in natural alternatives to medicine and a desire to help people.

Reflecting on her time running Naturally Health Foods, she said: “I have had the loveliest things said about how nice it is to have such a lovely shop.

“I have enjoyed being part of a community with people coming into the shop and with the other shopkeepers.

“I have loved the camaraderie and I have met some wonderful people.

“That is what I’m going to miss more than anything.”

On the future of the business, she added: “What I do find sad about this is that there hasn’t been anyone come along who is willing to take it on.

“I wish someone would take it on because I think Andover needs places like this where people can talk about what is wrong in their lives and be pointed in the right direction of what they can do. And I think it is sad that so many small businesses are failing.

“To run a business like this you need masses of enthusiasm and you need to promote it which I haven’t had the energy to do.”

The premises are currently being marketed for rental with Stratfords Commercial and if anyone would like to take on a health food business, Claire would be happy to share her advice.

Email her at