Q. What is the most common question you get from shoppers?
A. Where’s the bathroom? No, every day is different; every customer is different. The customer who is particularly into organics may want to know which farm something comes from. The gourmet foodie customers want to know if we have the French feta. Often a question stems from something that’s in the news. Mostly they want to know about what’s new and when we’re going to open a store next to their house.
Q. What’s the store’s best-selling item and why?
A. Our water. We have reverse osmosis purification in our store and we vend that for 19 cents a gallon. It’s a very aggressive price on water, and that’s a draw for our customers. Some people have wells that aren’t the greatest; other people just don’t trust the municipal water supply. We have a bring-your-own-jug system, or we’ll sell you a jug. It’s extremely pure water.
Q. Which are your favorite natural products?
A. My family does all our shopping here. We have really good seafood, really good meat, and really good prepared foods. It’s particularly easy for me to get something to grill, buy a side item out of our market kitchen and certified organic bread from our in-store bakery; that’s a meal.
Q. To what do you attribute the success of your stores?
A. I think it’s our authenticity; we care, and we’ve been at it for a while. We are first to market with many new products, but mostly we have credibility. Customers trust us because we’ve been consistently telling them the truth for more than 20 years.
Q. What’s your best shopping tip?
A. For the customers who want to feed their family organic but have trouble with the price, I want to show them how to cook. I want to show them that they can eat wonderful organic meals at an affordable price. I show them the bulk department. I show them they can eat beans and grains and veggies. If they’re willing to cook and willing to eat lower on the food chain, I show them those types of solutions.