I have looked forward to this day since I first learned Joplin was getting a full service health-centric grocery store. I’ve watched with keen anticipation as the building went up, at the busy corner of 7th and Range Line.
This morning, Natural Grocers opened its doors in Joplin, launching the store with a day full of activities designed to draw the curious and the excited within. I inhabited both categories! I grabbed a shopping cart and wheeled through the store late this afternoon.
I went to their website to research this company, with 143 stores currently in its corporation, and I was impressed and inspired. Margaret and Philip Isely started Natural Grocers with $200 that they borrowed, and the earnest desire that everyone should be able to afford a healthy lifestyle and be empowered to take control of their health.
They began by going door to door in Golden, Colorado, lending out books on nutrition, talking to people about their health, and giving samples of whole grain bread. They would return after a couple of weeks to answer questions and take orders for the bread, nutritional supplements and natural, nourishing foods.
During a time when TV dinners and convenience foods were enjoying their heyday, the Iseleys bucked convention and taught that nutrition was the foundation of a healthy life. Margaret had personally experienced that change in lifestyle. After the birth of her second child, she became chronically ill. When traditional medicine did not help or heal her, she turned to eating nutrient dense, natural foods and taking dietary supplements. Margaret healed herself and that became the impetus for what she would offer to others.
In 1989 the Iseleys switched to a store format, incorporating an organic produce section. The following year they removed all partially hydrogenated oil products from their shelves, a move that was years ahead of the times. In 1995 they formalized their nutrition education programs, creating a Nutritional Health Coach position. Every store offers classes on health and nutrition. A few years later the stores went bag free, creating a huge impact on the health of the environment. And in 2014 the company rolled out their pasture-based dairy standards and began the process of removing products that came from confinement dairies from their shelves.
The Iseley’s story resonates with me and endears me to their story even more. I can identify with Margaret and her decision to reclaim her health. I believe there is currently another major shift taking place, led by people like Anthony William, as people become more and more sick. Facing diagnoses of mystery illnesses and autoimmune disorders, and finding marginal relief of symptoms with very few cures, people with chronic pain and illnesses are discovering the amazing healing properties of natural, nutritious food. I am among those taking back their health. And Natural Grocers desires to support and help me, and others, with that process.
Natural Grocers was a joy to be in today. The parking lot was full, as was the clean, well lit store. The staff was cheerful and helpful, in spite of being busy restocking shelves. For people weren’t just looking. They were shopping. They were asking questions and reading labels and dropping items into their carts.
I loved the store. One hundred percent of the produce is organic. The canned goods and frozen foods are organic and non GMO. There are shelves of bulk items such as raw nuts, dry legumes and rices, spices and seasonings and grains. I found non dairy products such a yogurt, made from almond and coconut milk, unsulphured dried apricots and a huge gluten free section.
In addition to an incredible array of nutritional foods, Natural Grocers sells healthy pet products, vitamins and supplements, environmentally friendly paper goods and body care products. I was delighted to see that I can pick up chemical and dye free hair and shower products, as well as hand soaps and cleaning products. One of my goals for 2018 is to eliminate chemicals from all of the products that I use in my home and on my body. I will be looking to Young Living Essential Oils for help in this area. However, it is great to know this grocery store supports my decision as well.
I was extremely impressed with Natural Grocers today. I love that they offer health and nutrition classes. I appreciate their ongoing mission and the passion this family owned company has for supporting people in their health journeys. I was wowed by their product selection and their competitive pricing.
This store became my primary grocery store this afternoon. I look forward to getting to know the product and attending classes and exploring new foods and ideas. As they support my healing journey, I will support them by showing up and making purchases and recommending their services and wares to others. Well done, Iseley Family. Let’s journey together.