Natural Foods Merchandiser

The Bargaining Table

Fresh Organics Inc., Nutraceutical International Corp.'s retail subsidiary, has added another California health food store to its portfolio. Cornucopia Market of Carmel Valley, Calif., was sold to the Utah company for an undisclosed sum, said former owner Jon Zobler, who opened the store in 1977. Zobler told the Monterey Herald that a Whole Foods Market that opened six years ago in Monterey cut into his business. "We were about to close. We've just been hanging on for life," said Zobler, who will stay on as manager. Fresh Organics also owns three Real Food Co. stores in San Francisco and Thom's Natural Foods in Oakland, Calif., plus 11 Arizona Health Foods stores.

In Canada, Planet Organic Health Corp. paid $4 million in cash and stock for Sangster's Health Centres, a 35-store chain with operations in seven provinces. Planet Organic operates natural supermarkets in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta; and Victoria and Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. Founder Roy Sangster, who opened his first store in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, in 1971, will join the Planet Organic board of directors and the acquisition will be run as a separate division, focusing on smaller stores, the company said in a news release July 12. Sangster's stores range from 600 square feet to 1,500 square feet and stock more than 250 private-label items. Planet Organic is based in Edmonton.

Lifeway Foods Inc. said July 6 it will acquire an unnamed Philadelphia-area cream cheese producer, giving the Morton Grove, Ill., dairy producer its own distribution system in the Mid-Atlantic. The privately held company makes a line of gourmet cream cheese and farmer's cheese, which Lifeway President Julie Smolyansky said would complement Lifeway's line of kefirs and other cultured dairy products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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