Stocking Natural Food Options for Over 30 Years
by Felicia Brower
What started as a small shop in Canton has grown to become a trusted resource for health food and information in Central Ohio. Raisin Rack, a health food market owned by Don and Paulette Caster, was created after Don’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and needed an alternative diet. Don conducted extensive research and discovered there were not many options available for natural and healthy food. He decided to quit his teaching job to help fill that need. “My wife and I started the store, and we’ve just kept growing with the times,” says Don.
There are two Raisin Rack locations in Central Ohio: Westerville and Canton. Both stores offer a wide variety of organic groceries, fresh produce, gluten-free foods, dairy, meats, vegan and vegetarian options, and bulk grains, nuts, seeds and herbs. “The produce is 100 percent organic. We also have fruits and vegetables from local producers transitioning to become certified organic,” says Don. Raisin Rack also stocks a selection of supplements, vitamins, minerals and personal-care products. In addition to the large number of groceries and fresh produce, patrons can enjoy smoothies and juices at both locations.
Both locations also host lectures for patrons on accurate and reliable health information. “Back in the late 70s, I used to go out and speak to all kinds of church groups, women’s groups and men’s clubs,” explains Don. “I would talk about things that related to the awareness about natural foods, which at the time wasn’t much. It was mainly about juicing, herbs and vitamins.”
Lectures have been held for the past eight years at the Westerville location and 20 years at the Canton location. The lectures cover a variety of topics, all designed to help consumers get the most up-to-date health information. “We haven’t changed our focus since we opened in 1978. We just want to get people good information to help them make health decisions,” says Don.
There are also computers installed around the store to give patrons information about various Raisin Rack products. “We try to educate people, point out the good items and give them basic information to help them make their decision,” explains Don.
Patrons can download a free mobile app giving them access to free tips, rewards and exclusive coupons for items in the store.
On April 5, 2014, both locations will be hosting Gluten-Free Ohio, an event highlighting different gluten-free products made in the Buckeye State. Raisin Rack has stocked gluten-free options for almost 15 years, but Don wanted to focus on the local aspect. “We do a sampling usually twice a year of various gluten-free items, but in April we’re going to be focusing on gluten-free items with an Ohio flare. There are so many companies that have now begun to create quality gluten-free foods and we want to give them the opportunity to showcase their products in front of a good audience,” says Don. Information about the event can be found on the Raisin Rack Facebook page.
Location: 2545 W Schrock Rd in Westerville and 4629 Cleveland Ave. NW in Canton. For more information, visit RaisinRack.com.
Felicia Brower is a freelance writer based in Columbus. Connect at FeliciaBrower.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.