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With all that's going on in the natural products world, we highlight five news items that caught our attention and share links if you want to go deeper.

Christine Kapperman, Senior Content Director

February 12, 2020

3 Min Read
Take 5: Debra Stark is happy| Year of blue | 50th Earth Day in April

Debra Stark delights us with her new book, The Little Shop That Could.

Debra Stark shares stories that make us happy

She’s the founder of Debra’s Natural Gourmet, which carries the tag line, “Eat Well, Be Happy.” She’s delighting us today with her new book, The Little Shop That Could. In it, she captures the quirkiness and chaos—the realness—that is natural retailing through the years. We can almost hear her son Adam counting the 68 kinds of lip balm the store stocked. The story imparts the importance of customers, not inventory, as you might imagine. As we turn the pages, we can hear Debra’s passion and laughter. We shared her inspiration at And you can get a copy of your own at


According to Pantone, classic blue is “elegant in its simplicity.” Color of the Year 2020

Classic blue: It’s the hue

Pantone named this the color of the year. (Remember last year’s living coral?) According to Pantone, the hue is “a timeless and enduring blue … elegant in its simplicity.” The company chose it because the “reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” The natural products industry has taken to the color with outstanding blue packaging. Take a peek and get a designer’s take on the latest packaging trends at

Related:The heyday for medium-sized natural retailers is unbounded—so far


Happy 50th anniversary, Earth Day

Happy 50th anniversary, Earth Day

Launched in 1970, Earth Day action led to the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). No doubt these landmark actions laid a path for improvement. This year’s theme is climate action, as the Earth Day Network strives to log a Billion Acts of Green. Small acts like ditching plastic bags, providing pollinator habitat and promoting plant-based meals add up. Now think about the big commitments retailers and the industry can take. Attend Climate Day at Natural Products Expo West, if you need some inspiration. We want to hear about your standout efforts. Drop us a line at [email protected]. Together, we can make Earth Day every day.


Boulder, Colorado-based Lucky’s Market closed nearly all its stores in January 2020

A natural chain withers

The growth of Boulder, Colorado-based Lucky’s Market took a long slide to a halt early this year. Kroger announced in December its intentions to divest from the midsize natural products store chain it began backing in 2016. Under the partnership, the 17-store chain grew to 39 locations, with a great focus on the Florida market. With the latest Earth Fare closure news and management changes at Sprouts and Fresh Thyme farmers markets, midsize natural chain performance will be something to watch this year. (Sprouts' next earnings report is scheduled to be released Feb. 20.)


It might be time to revisit your thoughts about digital signage

A new sign for the times

For years, we’ve heard store owners diss digital signage because they don’t feel natural. We get it. We love a wonderfully hand-lettered sign. And we have seen digital eyesores that could assault shoppers at even the most funhouse-styled outlets. Earth Fare, though, found a balance that added 10% to the bottom line when it tested digital signage in its cafes. Before announcing store closures, the chain had planned to expand the strategy. Live TV might be over the top, but consider the optimal use of space such signs offer with easily changed and timed messages. It might be time to revisit your thoughts about digital signage. Read about the Earth Fare test at


About the Author(s)

Christine Kapperman

Senior Content Director, New Hope Network

As the senior content director at New Hope Network, Christine Kapperman combines her 20-year journalism background with her passion for business to cover the natural products industry for and Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine. She also led content at She loves tracking (and tasting) trends as she shares what’s next to show up in cups, plates and in pantries across the United States.

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