Gosport zero waste food store Eco Freaks Emporium moves to Lee-on-the-Solent due to 'struggling' town centre

A PIONEERING zero-waste food store has moved to Lee-on-the-Solent from Gosport town centre – saying the high street is getting next to no footfall from shoppers.

By Richard Lemmer
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 4:55 am

The Eco Freaks Emporium, which offer sustainably produced food without excess packaging, opened its doors in 14 South Street in 2018, but a lack of passing trade meant the owners have now closed the store.

The business, which also has an outlet in Havant, opened a new unit in 8 Milvil Road, Lee-on-the-Solent, on Saturday.

Eco Freaks Emporium owner Chloe Cobb said the move was brought about by the town centre’s struggles.

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Chloe Cobb, founder of the newly opened Eco Freaks Emporium in West Street, Havant. Picture: Mike Cooter (030721)

The 33-year-old said: ‘We were supposed to be keeping both stores open, but Gosport high street is really struggling. There’s no footfall there.

‘If a shop relies on footfall, it’s not the place to be.

‘It’s really struggling.

‘We needed the move looking at the books.’

The Eco Freaks Emporium Gosport store has now closed. Picture: Sam Stephenson

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Earlier this year, the government announced that Havant and Gosport borough council would be two of 68 local authorities that will benefit from the high streets task force, as part of the government’s ‘leveling-up’ agenda.

Businesswoman Chloe said turning the town centre bus station into a food and drink destination could turn around the fortunes of the area.

Speaking about Gosport Borough Council efforts to revitalise the area, she said: ‘I know they are trying to encourage markets but there’s not enough independent (shops) to rally that interest.’

Long-awaited plans to redevelop the bus station are due to approved by the council this week.

Eco Freaks plans to retain the use of the South Street unit for a project that will be revealed later in the year.

Chloe said: ‘We are keeping the unit for something else – but we’re not obliged to say what yet.’

Eco Freaks Emporium opened a store in Havant’s West Street in July last year, with a cafe above the unit.

Chloe also runs The Trash Cafe Network, which tackles food waste by collecting and processing food wastage to feed around 4,000 people a week in Gosport, Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant and Southampton.

The business also sells more than 400 products online.