So today I just must share about my favorite new store... Natural Grocers. One opened in Lawrence, KS just in the last couple of months and we visited there last night. It was our second visit. This is a fabulous alternative to Whole Foods (AKA Whole Paycheck).
Let's look at some specifics. First, the prices. They are amazing! For example we get CocoVita Pineapple coconut water at Whole Foods, which is $3.19, at Natural Grocers it's $2.65. That is NOT a sale price. The "blue tube" of Boiron homeopathic remedies are over $1.00 less at Natural Grocers. Basically anything I compared was significantly less expensive at Natural Grocers. The bulk foods section, frozen foods, anything we normally get at Whole Foods is less expensive here.
Produce is an interesting comparison. First thing is that Natural Grocers pride themselves in the fact that ALL of their fresh produce is ORGANIC. This is NOT the case at Whole Foods. They have actually moved away from that in the last several years. Another thing about Natural Foods is that 90% or so of the produce is grown in the USA. The downside because of this however is that the selection is much smaller. Part of that is that there isn't a lot of the pre-cut fruit and veggie mixes and box after box of the same type of apple.
The biggest drawback is the lack of fresh meat or seafood. All of the meat & seafood is in the freezer case. So for fresh meat it's still Whole Foods or another place that has natural meats, or Co-op/CSA with a rancher.
The vitamin, herb, and supplement section in this store is just fantastic. The price, the selection, and the organization are all superior to Whole Foods. The sales on products is fabulous. Just picked up a Garden of Life's Perfect Cleanse for under $14.00. Retail on this around $20.00. I spoke with CJ, the vitamin manager and he is very friendly and knowledgable. This section is located next to the Body Care section in the store which is equally as wonderful. Again, there is a large selection and great prices.
The frozen section, however does have just as good a selection of products. The bulk section isn't quite as large, but close. They have a smaller selection of prepared foods, but it is a nice selection in a few cases labeled "grab and go" near the front of the store. We found the staff friendly and helpful on both visits.
So is going to Lawrence, if you live in the KC area, worth it to save some money? Well, that depends on how much you buy and what else you might do there. Lawrence is a very fun place, fabulous restaurants... that could be another blog all by itself, cute and interesting local shopping. You must visit Downtown/Massachusetts Street if nothing else. That is where most of the coolest shops and eateries are. So for us the answer is a resounding YES!
Here is the link to the Natural Grocers in Lawrence; http://www.naturalgrocers.com/store-info/lawrence-kansas