by Ashley Flynn
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Wabash residents will have a new option for buying their holiday meal ingredients.
Cathy’s Natural Market is set to open next month at 1315 N. Cass St., next to Joy Christian Bookstore.
“When you walk into our store, you will be able to buy anything you could at any other grocery store, but it’s either going to be organic, GMO free or some other type of specialty food,” Cathy Price, owner of the grocery told The Paper.
Cathy, who follows a strict wheat-free diet, hopes to cater to those with special dietary needs or those just looking for a healthier food alternative.
“We are tailoring to those people with restrictive diets. We are trying to make it easy for them, because I know the frustrations,” Cathy said.
Cathy has studied holistic nutrition and has been buying gluten-free products since 2009 when her husband discovered he has celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten.
“About five years ago, I got down to about 140 pounds. I wasn’t looking very good. Cathy took me to a doctor, and I got tested for celiac disease,” Rick told The Paper. Rick’s mother passed away from the disease, which basically causes the body to malnutrition. There is no cure for celiac disease, but following a strict gluten-free helps manage symptoms.
Later, Cathy had herself tested and discovered she is wheat-sensitive. She does not have the same immune effects from wheat, but it does cause tiredness, digestive issues and grogginess. She also learned she is allergic to broccoli, squash and pumpkins.
“I would walk around with sinus problems all the time,” Cathy said, but since eliminating wheat from her diet and switching to organic foods, Cathy and her husband both feel healthier.
After making the switch, Cathy ran into another problem – finding foods she could eat.
“Before our store, you would have to go to Kokomo or Fort Wayne to get these things. For us to go shopping, I go to one store and there’s a little section here and a little something there, but I have to go everywhere to get these things. It’s nice to be able to just walk into one store and say, ‘oh, I can eat this’,” Cathy said.
With 3,000 square feet of space, Cathy’s Natural Market will carry a large variety of foods and produce, and they will also carry products such as shampoos, creams, deodorants, soaps and other necessities – made with all-natural ingredients, of course. They will also offer bulk foods, gourmet cheeses, organic meats, local farm fresh and artisan products, vitamins, supplements, minerals, herb and sports nutrition items.
Cathy and Rick are working with United Natural Foods, Inc., to supply most of the products. According to their website, UNFI is leading independent national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and related products including nutritional supplements, personal care items and organic produce, in the United States. They have over 60,000 products for Cathy to choose from, and they also have a system, which will allow her to keep track of which items are selling the best and when items need to be restocked.
They are also working with B&B Organics, a company based in Mishawaka. They will supply fresh produce to the store.
Schwabe North America, Inc., will supply the store with Nature’s Way products such as supplements and vitamins. Cathy and Rick also plan on partnering with local farmers.
In the future, they hope to have doctors and chefs provide classes and presentations about healthy living and cooking.
In preparation for the store, Cathy did market studies to see how receptive people would be. She sold items at the farmer’s market and talked to be people in the community.
“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people saying how convenient this will be. People will be able to make one stop and get it all,” she said. “If you want to eat healthy, you’re going to have to pay for quality stuff, but people won’t have to settle for second best.”
The store is expected to open next month. Hours will be 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Their Facebook page, which can be found by searching Cathy’s Natural Market, will update prospective customers on their progress.