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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Tunie’s VegFest: Something for everyone

Retailer of the Year nominee Tunie's
Tunie's built a community event that attracts and educates in a big way. Here's what the Retailer of the Year finalist in the Best Community Project category does.

Founded in 1993 with a mission to improve the community through good food, supplements and nutritional information, Tunie’s has grown to three stores across South Florida, each between 15,000 and 20,000 square feet. Shoppers will find about 30,000 healthy items, including organic produce and groceries, supplements and prepared foods.

But if you ask owner Taylor Hamilton, improving the lives of the community also includes a great deal of outreach. Because each location includes a dedicated community center, free weekly seminars on a range of topics are standard. In addition, the store hosts an Annual Health and Wellness Seminar at the local performing arts center, as well as South Florida VegFest, its biggest event.

Here’s what sets VegFest apart:

Something for everyone. VegFest is a meatless, dairy-free food festival that showcases plant-based cuisine and cruelty-free products. “It’s also designed to promote healthy living by offering educational seminars, yoga and exercise classes, and exciting performances,” Hamilton adds.

Hundreds of local and national practitioners, companies and vendors offer free product samples, cuisine tastings and other services.

Wide reach. VegFest 2016 was the store’s largest event ever, reaching more community members than ever before. More than 10,000 people descended on the War Memorial Auditorium, a venue about 300 yards from the Fort Lauderdale store.

Intense education. VegFest offers a full educational series that spans the entire day, with speakers every hour both at the venue and the store and golf cart transportation provided between. Last year, more than a dozen local and national speakers offered seminars and advice on everything from nutrition and foods to supplements, exercise, yoga and meditation.

The other Retailer of the Year Best Community Project finalists are:

Winners were announced at Natural Products Expo East 2017.

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