Healthy Living Market expands mission through learning centerHealthy Living Market expands mission through learning center
Natural Products Expo and Natural Foods Merchandiser joined to award retailers of the year in the categories of sustainability, innovation, community and best new store. Healthy Living Market of Saratoga Springs, New York, and South Burlington, Vermont, is an innovation finalist.
September 6, 2014
In 1986, Katy Lesser opened the doors to Healthy Living Market, a small natural foods store in South Burlington, Vermont. Today, Healthy Living Market is a 35,000-square-foot destination with a second location in Saratoga Springs, New York. Shoppers will find a full grocery and cafe, as well as body care, beer and wine, housewares, bulk, and supplement departments.
And while many natural foods stores pride themselves on education, Healthy Living Market’s Learning Center—complete with a full range of hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations and lectures—brings health and wellness in action to the community. “We believe that education is a missing link between the products shoppers see in the media and their decision to purchase,” says co-owner Eli Lesser-Goldsmith. “We created the center to educate our guests on how to use these foods, what they mean, and what they’re all about.”
Here’s how Healthy Living Market innovates to live up to its name:
Cooking classroom: Topics and themes range from couples cooking and girls’ nights out to dietary restrictions and cooking basics. “We want to help people bridge the gap between seeing food in the outside world and how to eat and prepare it,” Lesser-Goldsmith says.
Just for kids: Though fast food aggressively targets kids in its marketing, Healthy Living Market is working just as hard to be the antidote. After-school programs about how to make a healthy snack or school lunch, as well as field trips and day camps teach kids that healthy food is also delicious food.
A personal touch: Guests can rent out the Learning Center and hire Healthy Living Market staff to host private cooking classes based on their needs, for example, honing a specific kitchen skill like braising or cooking vegetarian dishes. “It’s showing people we’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy,” Lesser-Goldsmith says.
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