Nature’s Path Goes “All Natural”
by Susan Post
(Publishers’ note – Nature’s Path Market will celebrate its one-year anniversary, with a grand re-opening celebration and name change to It’s All Natural!, on October 18)
Store owners Judy Maa and Lee Ng have assembled an impressive collection of healthy, alternative food products for those adhering to specific diets. They also stock eco-friendly household, health and beauty items.
The pair carefully select each product in the store. “Everything here I already use at my house and now I just bring it to the market,” Maa says. “Me and Lee both, if we find new products, we try it.”
Maa knows just what she’s looking for with each new item. “Our thing is simple, original and natural so we try to look for things that match these three categories,” she says.
One entire section is dedicated to gluten-free crackers and cookies. Another section features pastas made from non-traditional ingredients. Adhering to their vegan guidelines, there is no meat in the store. Many meat alternatives are available, however. Nature’s Path also stocks a number of raw and unsweetened foods, including sugar and honey alternatives, especially useful to those with diabetes. For those with a sweet tooth, however, the market offers vegan dairy-free ice cream and frozen pies.
The store offers many other categories of traditional grocery fare, including soups, sauces, beans, breads, frozen entrees and pizza, and a number of specialty beverages. Maa likes to emphasize the healthiness of their various snacks and nutritional bars over junk-food options.
Nature’s Path carries a number of locally produced goods, including coffee from Stauf’s, snacks and treats from r.a.w. and products from Shagbark Seed & Mill. Local artisans also contribute honey, maple syrup and loose-leaf herbal tea.
Healthy eating and a natural lifestyle is not just for adults. “We have many, many products for children, for baby too,” Maa says. Nature’s Path carries everything from kid-friendly snacks to natural baby care products.
By shopping at Nature’s Path, customers can eat healthy and still incorporate eco-friendly, vegan and organic products into their everyday lives.
“We also carry eco-friendly household products,” Maa says. The market stocks the e-cloth line offering natural, chemical-free cleaning with no detergents.
From home to body, Nature’s Path sells organic shampoo, lotion, bar soap and vegan makeup and moisturizer, along with a number of natural toothpastes, all of which Maa has tried. Sometimes difficult to find, the store carries lines of organic and vegan vitamins as well.
Even down to things like decomposable and re-sealable baggies, sandwich bags made from recycled paper, eco-friendly coffee filters and natural feminine hygiene products, Nature’s Path is always promoting a natural lifestyle.
Both Maa and Ng encompass the lifestyle that the store represents. Maa is a vegan while Ng is a vegetarian. “We saw a benefit from all the vegetarian food and vegan food and then we [went] further and eat organic food,” Maa says, wanting to share that beneficial experience with everybody.
Being out in the community and bringing their vegan and vegetarian dishes to outings like the Asian Festival also helped develop the idea for the store. “A lot of people tell us, ‘Oh I’m so glad that you’re here otherwise when I come to this festival I probably could not find things to eat!’” Maa says. She knew this community of people needed a place tailored to their dietary lifestyles.
Maa’s spirituality also guides the inspiration behind the store. She believes in being pure, clean in attitude and thought, and conscientious of what one puts in their body, as everyone will one day return to nature.
Maa brings the ideology of Nature’s Path to many events in their Gahanna community. She has received positive feedback from patrons after spreading the word about the store. “We get very good feedback,” Maa says. “If the person is vegetarian, vegan, organic – they are very happy that we are here.”
Location: 1360 Cherry Bottom Rd. For more information, call 614-476-6159 or visit NaturesPathMarket.com.
Susan Post is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus. She enjoys writing about her city and the people and places that make it special. Contact her at Susan.Post.firstname.lastname@example.org.