The Herbal Dispensary
This month the Local Rag sat down with Bronwyn Lowe from the Herbal Dispensary. Opening the shop back in 1996, The Herbal Dispensary has been a mainstay in the Raglan CBD for over two decades.
In what year did you establish the Herbal Dispensary?
In 1996, after three years of study, I graduated as a Medical Herbalist from The Waikato Centre of Herbal Studies.
Why did you decide to start it up? What was your background?
My interest in herbal medicine grew from working in various horticultural occupations. I was growing herbal plants for the local markets and garden centres when I learnt about using herbs more as a medicine.
When I graduated, few people knew what Herbal Medicine was and how to use it to enhance their health. My idea was to open a clinic with a shop to raise the profile of Herbal Medicine and serve the local community, and then go back to my garden!
It didn’t quite turn out that way but here we are 25 years later with great local support and a broad customer base from all around NZ
I really believe in the power of herbal medicine to support people with their health and vitality. Having a background in horticulture, Herbal Medicine brought together my interest in both plants and helping others with their health.
Where did you first operate from?
I first started in the old doctor’s surgery in Wi Neera Street, with Dr Ian Marcus, who was very supportive, however the business soon outgrew those premises. I then moved down the alley on Bow Street where Raglan Roast now operates from.
As we continued to grow we moved premises along Bow Street, ever expanding, until ending up at our current location at 6 Wallis Street 8 years ago. This is a fantastic spot, allowing us to have our herb garden at the back, two clinic rooms, a dedicated dispensary, and organic food store.
How has the business evolved over time?
When I began, I opened with just $3000 worth of stock and only a small dispensary of liquid herbs. With community support, I was able to expand my range and move into areas such as natural skincare, organic foods, and natural health supplements. In the early days of the shop, catering to the gift market would entice people in to the Herbal Medicine side, however nowadays it seems to hold its own! When I began, it was just me, and now we employ between 8-14 staff depending on the time of year.
What are your latest developments ?
The community’s interest in reducing plastic use allowed us to install a successful Eco Store cleaning products refillery last year which has proved popular. Here you can refill anything from shampoo to glass cleaner! We are also working behind the scenes on a new skincare range, stay tuned! Employing two full-time Naturopaths and Medical Herbalists last year has seen the growth of The Nourish Clinic, where one-on-one consultations are available with our qualified practitioners.
What aspect of the Herbal do you enjoy the most?
Building customer relationships and of course bringing Herbal Medicine to a wide range of people and seeing and hearing the positive results!
How do you want people to feel when they come instore?
Welcomed, looked after, supported, and part of the Raglan community.
When are you open?
9am-5pm, 7 days a week.
The Herbal Dispensary and Organic Food Store. 6 Wallis Street, Raglan Ph: 07 825 7444