New Oban shop helps customers ‘Go Naked’

Graham West of Go Naked Veg Ltd at the new shop on Stevenson Street

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A fledgling business which launched this year has opened a new shop after its home delivery orders took flight during lockdown.

Go Naked Veg Ltd, which started in January as a home delivery service for fruit and veg, is now also trading as a walk-in shop at the former Button Nose Boutique premises at the corner of Stevenson Street and Combie Street.

Owner Graham West has taken on two members of staff and is keeping home deliveries going as far away as Lochgilphead, Inveraray and Kinlochleven.

He got the idea after asking people what type of shop Oban needed. He is also playing a part in helping the area reduce its reliance on plastic which is ending up in the oceans, the countryside and landfill.

The walls of the shop are lined with eye-catching graphics such as ‘one million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute’ and that the ‘average person eats 70,000 microplastics every year’.

The shop’s unique selling point is that it is totally plastic free and sells predominantly organic fruit and veg from local producers – loose not pre-packaged.

People can select the precise quantities they need rather than being obligated to buy more and end up contributing to food waste.

In addition to foods, which include organic soups, the shop also sells cleaning products.

These can be bought with customers taking along a refillable container or glass jar.

Such is the commitment to going plastic free – you can also buy a bamboo toothbrush –  Graham is preparing to stock reusable nappies, with disposable nappies being a significant contributor to household waste.

Graham, originally from Kent, worked in retail management for 20 years for supermarket giants in London, including Tesco and Sainsbury’s, rising up the ranks after becoming a manager aged just 19.

Now 46, it was becoming a parent to two children that made him realise the futility of everything being wrapping in plastic, particularly coconuts which already come ready wrapped in their shell, to bananas which come with a skin on!

Passionate, rather than preachy, Graham said: ‘Since I’ve had children, I’ve become a lot more aware of the world we live in and the effects of what we are doing to it.

‘We are destroying it. Plastic is a brilliant product, there’s no doubt about it, but it is destroying the environment and we owe it to future generations to start acting now to try and do something about it.

‘We’ve all got to do our own little bit, even if it’s just reducing the plastic use slightly as we have to start looking for alternatives or we’ll wreck the environment.’

The shop also sells a wide range of fruit, from clementines, lemons, grapes, kiwis, and three different types of apple – Cox’s, Bramley and Gala.

It also sells sprouts, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes, cauliflower, chillis and broccoli.

Spices, including ginger and turmeric, are also available.

Mr West said the response to the shop had been ‘amazing’ with good wishes posted on social media. And he was touched by personal ‘good luck’ cards sent by other local retailers. ‘It’s been fantastic,’ he said.