Mountain Creek Wholefoods had its origins in consciousness expansion. The initial business plan was actually founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1977. He asked Transcendental Meditators around the world to set up new businesses and he asked the proprietors to build expanded consciousness into their businesses via their daily meditation.
With this brief in mind, four Canberra meditators got together with a range of different skills and decided to build a new style of health food store. Greg Carman had the necessary health food retail experience, having been involved in launching the ANU Food Co-op a few years before. Gavan Evans was a graphic designer and all-round ideas man who had co-founded City Graphics. Phil Kinmond had been in the building trade for many years and Robbie Swan hosted a local radio program and had some media experience. Evans, Kinmond and Swan also owned a 200 acre property on Mountain Creek in the Wombat Ranges west of Canberra, where they built small huts to do fasting, cleansing diets and spiritual retreats.
Each person took on an area of expertise that roughly equated with their lot in life, and the shop’s name seemed to select itself.
In early discussions we wanted a return to the days when ‘service’ meant that someone actually ‘served’ you, which meant they also packed the products in front of you and handed you a parcel of food that was as personalised as you could get. What we wanted was the ANU Co-op arrangement but where someone interacted with you to help you make good selections. The Co-op used an open bin system so that the food was easy to get, but it was on the floor and open to anyone to touch, which put many people off. Our design incorporated a series of big bins that held up to 20 kilos of various foodstuffs (brown rice, Chinese dates, lentils, walnuts etc.) all lined lined up in a nice old mahogany-style counter, so that customers could not only choose to have a kilo out of that 20 kilos but have someone actually serve them.