Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers
Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc (NYSE: NGVC) (commonly referred to as "Vitamin Cottage" or "Natural Grocers") is a Colorado based health food chain founded in 1955 by Margaret and Philip Isely and now operated by their children. Natural Grocers are found in 19 states, mainly west of the Mississippi River. The company operates over 125 retail grocery stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming with approximately 2,000 employees and new stores opening monthly. Products include vitamins, dietary supplements, natural and organic food, organic produce and natural body care products.
The company is a longtime proponent of consumer education about health and nutrition, and runs an ongoing free lecture series with nutrition and health experts for both customer and employee education. Each store provides a free trained "Nutritional Health Coach" (see nutritionist) for its customers. All education activities are science-based, refer to most recent published studies, and not related to specific products or brands.
The company filed an S1 registration statement with the SEC on June 18, 2012 under the name Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. As of July 25th, 2012, the company is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "NGVC".
The company has a manifesto entitled "What We Won't Sell and Why". This list includes artificial colors and flavors, artificial preservatives, irradiated food and meat raised using artificial hormones and antibiotics among others. Only USDA certified organic (see Organic certification) fruits and vegetables are sold.
Many of the company's guidelines for ensuring product purity and quality, developed over many years due to the previous lack of existing government standards, were used as the foundation for the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) legislation of 1994. Company founder Margaret Isely contributed to forming the precursor group that became the international trade group Council for Responsible Nutrition. The company maintains an active role in community education, regulatory affairs and scientific nutrition research.
Natural Grocers operates "Bag Free" stores, asking customers to bring reusable bags for their purchases or take a recycled box in place of plastic or paper bags. The company also operates an all-green retail location in Northglenn, Colorado, employing geothermal heating and cooling among other features. The store uses net zero energy for heating and cooling the interior. All Natural Grocers locations (not just distribution centers) undergo third party audits of their organic handling and processing practices by a USDA-accredited organic certification agency and are USDA certified organic handlers/processors. The company operates in compliance with all National Organic Program rules.
Awards and recognition
In 2006 the management team reached the Rocky Mountain regional final for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage received the Best Gourmet Grocery Store award from Denver's Channel 7.
- Davis, Joyzelle (2008-03-14). "Vitamin Cottage stressing food in new name". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- "Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage to Go Completely "Bag Free"". Reuters. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
- "Entrepreneur finalists named". Denver Business Journal. 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- "CoBiz 2009 Top Companies". Colorado Business Magazine. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-27.