Albert Lea natural food store considers closing

Published 9:00 am Sunday, October 5, 2014

Members of the oldest food store in Albert Lea will vote on Tuesday during the organization’s annual meeting whether to keep its doors open.

The meeting, for Wintergreen Natural Foods, will be at 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church.

Wintergreen Manager Maren Ring said the store started in the 1970s as a cooperative of about 60 volunteers with a focus on natural and organic foods.

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The specialty store now sells everything from baking supplies, to nuts, fruits, chicken and eggs, to name a few.

Ring said Wintergreen is in its 39th year of operation but has been facing business challenges.

When the cooperative began, there was just beginning to be an interest in promoting natural and organic foods across the country.

“We in Albert Lea were part of this movement to have natural and organic foods, and I’m glad we did,” she said. “It has been good for Albert Lea.”

Now, the natural and organic movement has taken off, and many of these types of products can be found in larger grocery stores, she said.

Look to the Tribune later this week for the results of the vote.

Maren said members and nonmembers alike are welcome to shop at the store, 1442 W. Main St., but only members will be allowed to vote on the issue.