Organic Oasis

John Caruso discovers a world where organic is everyday easy and dietary requirements are well catered for.

by @JohnCaruso on Friday, 11 Dec, 2015

There’s a sophisticated, urban feel when you walk into Organika with uniformed friendly, helpful staff helping customers, serving behind the busy counter and brewing coffees. Customers eat, drink and chat at tables at the front of the store next to fully stocked aisles of organic products from household cleaners to makeup; food staples and more recently, alcohol. The high ceiling and industrial-style lighting with deep long aisles help guide you on your organic journey.

Co-owner Gayle Robertson is sitting in a small office at the back of the store, phones are ringing and you can hear the quiet exchange of customers and staff just outside her door.

It has been a few months since Gayle and husband David Rogers stepped into the much-loved local business, yet they already feel at home, despite their background in the high-flying corporate world in places like Chicago, London and Sydney.

“Organic food has always been a passion of ours,” says Gayle. “The previous owners did a great job of setting up the business about eight years ago and now we’re endeavouring to put our stamp on the place by expanding the range.

“Having a young family and being female, organic skincare such as Scout Cosmetics and Ecotan, and cleaning products are really interesting to me. We’re also trying to do more to make it easy for families with lunchbox-friendly items, ready-to-go meals, organic babycare and organic and bio-degradable nappies.”

The couple met in Bermuda and while owning an organic outlet in Noosa was never on the cards, they have always tried to live an organic, natural lifestyle and been committed to giving back.

We’re also trying to do more to make it easy for families…

Gayle’s father suffered a heart attack when he was still relatively young and it was this moment and the subsequent sole carer’s routine that led her to search out a better, healthier and a more organic way of living.

Gayle and David are both actively involved in Reachout Now – a UK-based charity that Gayle is on the Board of Trustees for.

“It’s a small, humble charity where 100% of the donations go towards the cause,” Gayle said. “We have built schools, orphanages and medical centres in places like West Africa, East Africa, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, India and Tanzania and even water wells in Nigeria!

“As a family, we have been involved in some amazing projects and we have witnessed the importance of good nutrition and supporting the social fabric of the local community.

“We have the opportunity to make a difference here by supporting local, organic producers and offering solutions for people with dietary requirements or trying to lead a better lifestyle.

“Our produce is different from conventional stores – it is fresh from the producer or farmer and is certified organic,” says Gayle. “We use local suppliers where possible and then we go further afield for product that we can’t get locally.”

In November, Organika received its license to sell alcohol and are slowly growing the range of organic, biodynamic, vegan, gluten and preservative free products.

“We’re catering for people seeking organic and biodynamic products as well as those with particular dietary requirements, so we have gluten and preservative free beers, wine and cider and we’ll be extending the range over time.”

Gayle and David have also introduced market days where people can meet the producers and sample the products they have on offer.

Organika is slowly growing its range across the board and Gayle and David hope that it becomes a one-stop-shop for all organic and dietary requirements that ‘every body’ can benefit from.

Read more articles by @JohnCaruso

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