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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Cambridge Naturals champions retail innovation

Cambridge Naturals Retailer of the Year nominee
Retailer of the Year: Innovation finalist

Elizabeth Stagl and Michael Kanter founded Cambridge Naturals in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1974 when both were just 22 years old. The store became a true family affair in 2014 when the duo’s daughter, Emily Kanter, moved back from the West Coast to become a co-owner. Her husband, Caleb Dean, was named a partner this year. Under this joint leadership, Cambridge Naturals, a Certified B Corporation, remains committed to sourcing locally, organically and ethically and partnering with businesses owned by women and underrepresented individuals. All the while, the store works to increase access to quality foods and supplements and promote positive change for its employees and neighbors.

Here are three more ways Cambridge Naturals is a true innovator:

Supporting community. In addition to providing financial support to dozens of nonprofits, the store is a major contributor to Community Cooks, which mobilizes local organizations to offer homemade foods to individuals seeking assistance from human service agencies or struggling with food insecurity. The store hosts fundraising events for this initiative each year, and many staff members volunteer on their own time.

Prioritizing activism. By working with local group Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, Cambridge Naturals advocates for raising the federal and Massachusetts minimum wage. In 2014, after meeting with Michael in Washington, D.C., Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez traveled to the store to host a roundtable discussion on this topic with reps from other local businesses.

Engaging (and enriching) staff. The store hosts frequent training sessions and also encourages employees to share their knowledge with one another. “One of our staff members has a master’s in experimental medicine and has led a few trainings on antioxidants,” Emily says. “Our customers expect our staff to be highly knowledgeable about the products we carry, so we encourage them to take part in these trainings as much as possible.”

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