“We’ve actually seen our sales increase, especially in supplements, because so many people without health insurance are searching for other options."
—Naomi Lundberg, Valley Natural Foods, Burnsville, MN
“We have a really unique floor plan—serious food, silly prices. For us, the economic downturn has not hurt in any way shape or form. We’ve been able to provide families with good food at low prices to assist the people who have been affected."
—Jaylene Nuttall, Sunflower Farmers Market, Phoenix, AZ
“I sell tea, making up nice little packages of tea. Before, customers might have added a tea pot or something more elaborate, but sales of our main product have still flourished."
—Kathleen Kern, Churchill’s Tea Room and Shop, Cincinnati, OH
“The only plus is really a negative—things have gotten so hard that we’ve had to get better at what we do in terms of running our business. The effect has been a stronger team."
—Paul Koenig, Amazing Grace Whole Foods, Louisville, KY
“Our store was growing so fast that we were just chasing our tails. By slowing things down, we’ve had more opportunity to do better customer service and continue to grow at a pace that’s manageable. For three years we’d grown at 40 percent annually. We’ve dropped down to 6 percent and I’m loving that."
—Kathryn Noonan, Common Crow Natural Market, Glouster, MA
“People are still buying personal care products … Consumers are also making purchases that are more purposeful."
—Rose Apolito, Formulae, Red Bank, NJ
“It’s an opportunity to try new things and to explore launching new ventures. It’s also had the effect of making natural products more economical."
—Adrienne Johnson, Formulae, Red Bank, NJ
“You come out of automatic pilot and start thinking again. And there’s less turnover in staff. People seem to want to do what they have a passion for, and a lot have a passion for this industry because of the service and how it connects to small farmers and the local food movement"
—Janiece Kennedy, Silver Spring Co-op, Silver Spring, MD
“It gives you an opportunity to evaluate where you are in this business, what’s working and what’s not. It has made us connect more with customers through email, newsletters, gift certificates and free samples."
—Roland Oehme, Green Harmony Living, Baltimore, MD
“I’m an internet retailer and it’s driving a lot more sales to the internet."
—John Montague, Webvitamins.com