The owner of a shop in Lampeter is inviting the public to join in celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the business.

The Mulberry Bush will host events to mark the occasion from 1-8 June, and Josie Rashmi Smith has recorded a video inviting people to join them.

In 1973 Smudger and Josie Rashmi Smith moved from Afghanistan to Lampeter with daughters, Sam and Stella.

They enquired about an empty shop in Bridge Street with owner D. W. Davies of Arnold Davies and Co.

“I’ve already let the building to a photographer,” he said, “and he is due to sign the agreement today. But leave me your phone number, and you can have it if he doesn’t turn up!”

They got the shop and The Mulberry Bush opened in January 1974.

They sold their Afghan carpets, jewellery, dresses and wall-hangings from Kabul, along with local crafts.

Within months they opened Mulberry Wholefoods, selling brown rice, lentils, local stoneground wholemeal flour and peanut butter.

Josie was vegetarian, interested in macrobiotics, and the health benefits of unrefined and natural foods. The nearest wholefood store then was in Aberystwyth. Finding it difficult to buy the food they enjoyed - olives, halva, garlic and spices - it was logical to sell those and encourage others to eat healthier. The Wholefood Store grew and the Afghan goods shop stopped.

Team Mulberry
Team Mulberry (Picture supplied)

Josie’s parents, Edna and Arthur, moved to Lampeter from Cornwall and in 1975 Arthur opened a green-grocers in the larger room.

Sadly, his health deteriorated. He closed the grocers a year later; the Wholefood Store expanded.

In 1976 Edna joined the Mulberry Bush team, Josie gave birth to son Kelly, and Arthur died.

“Even though we had only been part of Lampeter life for under three years, the love and support we received was uplifting and heart-warming: countless expressions of sympathy at Arthur’s death, and of joy four weeks later at Kelly’s birth,” Josie recalls.

“We would not have achieved this landmark without them, our customers.”

Giveaways, raffles, and the exhibition Dancing Round the Mulberry Bush will show the history of the shop and feature rare items from Afghanistan. Many businesses started in that building, and the exhibition will highlight that, and their support of local writers, artists and musicians over the years.