The Radical Grocery Store owner Anikee Mallis is closing her shop on Christmas eve.
The Radical Grocery Store owner Anikee Mallis is closing her shop on Christmas eve. Photo: Tim Doutre

Tim Doutre

Victoria's only vegan grocery store is set to close, despite more people making the switch to veganism.

The Radical Grocery Store in Brunswick will shut up shop on Christmas eve after owner Anikee Mallis revealed that the business had taken a financial and mental toll.

Ms Maliss, 27, posted a note on the business' website and Facebook page saying it was time for someone else to “step up”.

The Wilson Avenue store has amassed a large online presence in just a few years, with nearly 8000 followers on Facebook, and while this has not translated into bumper sales it seems there is a demand for the business.

“I have had several offers to purchase the business since sending that post out (on Wednesday),” Ms Mallis said. “I got four offers in one day from people who already had businesses.

“I was expecting offers from people who love the store but I wasn't expecting to get so far already with four offers from people who have a better understanding of what they are getting themselves into and have capital behind them.”

Vegetarian Victoria president Mark Doneddu, whose non-profit organisation promotes the benefits of vegetarianism and veganism, described it as the “fastest growing food trend in the world”.

Mr Doneddu said more than 10,000 people attended the World Vegan Day event held at the showgrounds last month, double the attendance of 2008.

“At this year's World Vegan Day we surveyed about 500 people and found that 73 per cent of the attendees were vegan, 18 per cent vegetarian and the remainder were omnivores.

“The average time that the survey participants were vegan was only five years. This is a great indication that the number of vegans is dramatically increasing.”

Mr Doneddu said at one stage The Radical Grocery Store was the only vegan grocery store in the country but others had since followed suit.

“Since The Radical Grocery Store opened, Vegan grocery stores have opened in Sydney, Brisbane and two Vegan grocery stores have even opened in Adelaide.

“It appears that two new Vegan grocery stores will open in Melbourne in 2014, one in Preston and another in the inner suburbs.”

Ms Mallis' store started as an online business in 2008 before graduating to a small shop on Sydney Road, “a brilliant location but we outgrew it very quickly”.

Three years ago Ms Mallis made the move to the current sizable Brunswick location

Her decision to close has been motivated by a mixture of financial and personal reasons but she put the call out for people to come to the store in its final weeks.

“I just want to get the word out that it may not be around forever and if you want it to be around forever you have got to show how much you want it,” she said.

Ms Mallis could not guarantee that prospective new owners would continue her dedication to selling vegan, organic, fair trade, recycled, reusable, natural and local products.

But she did say the four parties who have “expressed interest” are vegans.

The store will close at 7pm on Christmas Eve. For information visit www.radicalgrocery.com

The Weekly Review Melbourne Times