If you've read the story behind Mint, you'll know our move from Wotton under Edge to Bristol was a huge homecoming for me (owner Hayley).
Wotton was where everything began, but Bristol is where my heart has always lived. It is also where most of our customers are, plus suppliers and other connections. We were constantly driving back and forth between the two places so when it came time to move into a bigger premises, Bristol was the sensible option.
The Wotton store was a beautiful Victorian double bay fronted premises, with original tiled entrance and parquet flooring. It was a tobacconist back in the 60s, and you can still see the black stiletto marks across the floor today. It had an unbelievable amount of character and I felt it was important not to lose this in the new premises.
We looked at all areas of Bristol, from wealthy Clifton to the outskirts of Filton and beyond. No shops had the same amount of pull, and the areas didn’t seem to fit with our relaxed, informal vibe. We decided to not do anything unless we got that special feeling again when walking through the door. It had to be 100% right.
Then one Sunday evening scrolling through Gumtree, a shop listing in Easton popped up. A frantic few messages went back and forth and I organised a viewing for the very next day. Be quick I was told, there’s a lot of interest. I picked Tina up and the drive there was nerve wracking, but the second we walked through the door we knew. The ceiling was double height, light poured through the entire place, and the shop front was Victorian. One of the last remaining Victorian fronted properties on Stapleton Road in fact. The doorstep was tiled, just like the Wotton shop, and upon looking up at the door number I grabbed mums’ hand and almost burst into tears in shock…
The number of the place was 226. My birthday is the 22nd of June, and 226 is a number used by me all my life for passwords, email addresses and the like. I hadn’t even noticed in the rush to make the viewing. All the difficulties of the last few years seemed to make sense in that one moment and I knew this was the shop for us.
This was of course also the old Genesis store, which had a huge name for itself. We were honoured to be giving the premises a new lease of life.
We took on the contract in December 2021, but with Christmas coming up it didn't make sense to move until January the following year. This also gave us time to get the new shop ready, as it was an empty shell and required a lot of work to paint, install a kitchen and fit the shop front out.
Over Christmas I roped in friends, family, and random Tinder matches (huge shout to MC, I’ll be eternally grateful) to help me fit out the shop. I drove all over the South picking up bits of equipment from Facebook marketplace and painted the floor with the completely wrong (but cheap!) ingredients. Turns out external concrete paint and internal chipboard doesn’t go too well together, but we’ll repaint one day! For now, the girls just LOVE scrubbing the floor with magic sponges on a monthly basis...
I am obsessed with midcentury design and bright colours. I had a vision for the shop and somehow, that vision ended up becoming reality. I trawled auction sites and found bright red 1999 IKEA coat racks for the walls. A friend's mum had some old Vitsoe racking going for cheap. That friend, who runs Host Interiors, found shelving for me in charity shops and sold me all sorts of odds and ends I picked out from his workshop in Bedminster.
I noticed Katie Fishlock on Instagram and realised she was a Bristol gal. I couldn't believe how perfect her vibe was for us. We soon became friends and I managed to buy a whole bunch of her artwork for the shop.
I didn't sleep between working in the old shop, working on the new shop and looking after a 2 year old, but it was worth every moment.
Opening day in February 2022 was beyond my wildest dreams. The shop was packed from start to finish, and our new neighbourhood welcomed us with open arms. Tee’s Caribbean next door continues to help us out with boxes and packing materials, the guys at Europe Express a few doors down amaze us all the time with the delicious foods they have on offer and Space 238 up the road provide us with incredible toasties and coffee all day long.
Not to mention all the other shopkeepers and business owners who stop to say hello every time they go past. We have found such an incredible community here in Easton and I love being here every single day of the week.