Still staying in the vicinity of the Adelaide Central Market (a treasure trove, albeit sometimes stressful during the market’s busy hours), there are a few other places to peruse.
THE HONEY SHOPPE AND SOAPBOX
Shop 20, Central Market Arcade, Adelaide 5000
A hidden gem: a natural and unpackaged beauty and personal care mecca
What you can find: Row upon row of beautiful unpackaged vegetable and olive oil based soaps in all their glory- bring a reuseable bag/ container for your goodies, bring your best sniffing nose to smell all the luscious smells 😉 . An amazing array of bulk soaps, conditioners, hand wash, body wash, dishwashing and laundry detergents- you name it, they’ve got it- I’m pretty sure I spied borax and washing soda in bulk the last time I was there (an upcoming project is home made dishwashing tablets- stay tuned!) Interesting things that I thought would be difficult to find in bulk: beeswax, clays, shea and cocoa butter. Honey (of course), bulk teas and herbs, and the piece de resistance: every essential oil known to man (both pre packed and in bulk). They’re happy to refill essential oils if you bring your own bottle and know the volume (they also sell a great array of amber glass bottles in lots of different sizes behind the counter). This place isn’t self-serve though, so flag down one of the guys to give you a hand before you get too bulk- happy.
- Central location
- A gob smacking array of goodies to tempt you into embarking into your next d.i.y project: moisturiser, hand sanitiser, washing powder, face masks…
- So much fun to just browse- Every time I’ve been I’ve found something new and exciting in bulk
- Can get very squishy, especially during lunch hours. Be prepared to be elbowed out of the soap section by a couple of angry businessmen who are intent on buying some castille soap so that their “skin can be silky smooth and soft” (true story)
- A lot of the tubs are ground level, so some crouching and balancing may be required to get at the good stuff
- The staff are usually run off their feet so service can be quite slow, but I just amuse myself by smelling/ groping some pretty soap whilst waiting :). Because they’re under the pump they *will* wrap up your purchases very quickly in paper/ plastic bags unless you gesticulate wildly with both hands (and one leg) that you have your own container/ bag.
Shop 21 Central Market Arcade, Adelaide SA 5000
When you’re done with ogling and getting in everyone’s way at the Honey and Soapbox Shoppe, wander next door for a stress free bulk shopping experience.
What you can find:
Go Vita is an Australian-wide franchise of health food stores. To date this is the only one I’ve found in Adelaide that does bulk foods (I haven’t visited the Glenelg branch yet so happy to be proven wrong). You can sign up for their Good Health Club Card which entitles you to discounts (up to 21% off on the first Tuesday of the month). They do a great range of bulk foods (although small) with lots of tempting snacks (like chick pea chips- my favourite!) and dried fruit. Healthy add-ons like psyllium husk buckwheat groats can be found here. My favourite part is the back of the store, where you can buy protein powders in bulk. This place is definitely under-represented in the bulk shopping world with not as much “social media noise” as they should deserve!
- Truth: I find most bulk shopping stressful. This is the least stressful bulk shopping experience I’ve had to date- The bulk bins are at elbow level with clean scoops, everything is well maintained and set out, no bending over/ crouching is required, no strangers will brush past your bottom here. You also don’t feel rushed so you can take your time serenely filling your glass jars. Bliss.
- The ladies who run it are absolutely lovely and they obviously attract regular customers. Stop by the counter on your way in and they’ll weigh up your jars for you, and they totally understand the concept of wanting to bulk shop.
- Health-focussed, so a great place to go to to buy small quantities of weird things to try before shelling out your hard earned clams- e.g. maca powder
- I honestly can’t think of any, other than that I wish they were bigger and had a larger range, because I would definitely try and do most of my shopping here. They do welcome any stock recommendations though, so if there is something that you would use a lot of and would like to see it there- by all means have a chat to one of the lovely staff. I would also love to see more Go Vita stores take up the bulk shopping mantle 🙂
HOUSE OF HEALTH
Stall S73, Adelaide Central Market
If I could live in a cardboard box in the corner of this place I would- I love it so. It would get a bit squishy after a while though.
What you can find: I am surprised that I had only managed to shop here recently, owing to my own ditziness about opening times. They stock a great basic range of healthy grains, nuts, spices, muesli and flours, but where they really shine is in the stuff that can be hard to find: Here you can bring your own container and fill it up with tamari, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, hulled and unhulled tahini, molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, and rice malt syrup- heaven for any health food zero waste nutcase (Hello!). You can buy health supplements in bulk, like beetroot powder and spirulina. They also do a lot of things in little glass jars, like bee pollen and organic Australian miso paste. Olive oil is sold for a great price too, so come fill up! The liquid bulk is not self serve though, so grab one of the staff to give you a hand (some of those bulk liquid containers need some coaxing!)
- Ridiculously friendly and helpful staff, know exactly what to do with your jars when you hand them over.
- As mentioned above- amazing range
- They have a big glass counter filled with all the tasty raw desserts you could want- raw Snickers cheesecake slice- get in my belly
- This was the first time that I’ve bumped into someone else at a bulk store who had brought their own jar (to fill up with honey)- this shop must be doing something right! 😀
- Not all the bulk is self serve, so you may need to wait a bit to get someone to fill up your container for you
- Can get a bit squishy here. (It is an unfortunate trend in Adelaide that we’re developing a “big city” mentality where people now rush around and start getting pushy in small cramped spaces)
- I can’t think of another con. I truly do love this little place and the people who run it!
- Actually- Their opening days are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My gripe is that I wish they were open every day… Forever 😉 *fangirl*
My hope is that my guides will break down any barriers to people who want to bulk shop but feel too unprepared to start. My guides have arisen out of many failed excursions and awkward jar-fumbling moments. I have suffered the humiliation so you don’t have to. The next part in this series will cover some smaller “gems” in the Adelaide Central Market area, and hopefully after that I’ll start delving into the suburbs for more “specialty” treats.