WARRENTON — Natural Grocers, the region’s newest grocery store, has opened at Youngs Bay Plaza.
The 13,000-square-foot natural and organic store employs about 20 people, including Store Manager Brian Marchello. Previously employed at Safeway, Marchello said he became interested in retailers like Natural Grocers when his wife’s medical needs required his family to take a closer look at their diet.
“We don’t allow just any product to (be) put in here on the shelves,” Marchello said of the retailer, which offers products such as organic produce, grass-fed beef and free-range eggs.
Along with groceries, Natural Grocers has a vast array of vitamins, supplements and body care products.
The store employs Michelle Larsen, a nutritional health coach with a bachelor’s in health promotion and education from the University of Utah. Larsen offers nutrition classes and free hourlong health-coaching sessions.
“I had first worked in a health food store in 1998, so I’ve been doing this a long time” Larsen said. “I have celiac disease, so I really understand the dietary restrictions.”
Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets was started in Golden, Colorado, in 1955 by Margaret and Philip Isely. The couple’s children took the business over in 1998 shortly after Margaret Isely’s death and in 2008 changed the name to Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage. The company went public on the stock exchange in 2012 and now has more than 140 locations with at least 10 more planned to open this year in Colorado, Iowa, Oregon and Texas.
Warrenton is the company’s 10th location in Oregon, and comes as Astoria Co-op Grocery is planning a similar-sized location at 23rd Street and Marine Drive by the end of the year. Another Natural Grocers will open soon in Coos Bay.