Whitney and Nathan Noll

Whitney and Nathan Noll run their family shop with their daughter Grace in tow.

Pacific Health Foods is a third-generation Carpinterian-owned business which opened its doors in 1991. It’s a business you may know well—so well, in fact, you might already have a hole-punched smoothie card tucked in your wallet. The natural food store on Linden Avenue is equal parts town meeting spot and grocery store, originally owned by the current owner Nathan Noll’s grandparents. Nathan worked on and off at the shop during his younger years and while attending college for a degree in nutrition. Five years ago, Nathan and his wife Whitney took over and have since added their own touch while getting by with a little help from their friends (the local community).

“I believe our success is because we focus on the local community and we listen to our customers,” Noll said. “A good amount of the products we carry are directly from customer requests, which isn’t the case in big box stores.” When asked how his store compares to other grocers out there, he noted that Pacific Health Foods is the organic alternative to big chain grocery stores. “We pride ourselves in selling only natural and organic products.”

During store hours, you may find customers taking in the downtown scene from outdoor dining tables while enjoying freshly made organic smoothies, acai bowls, sandwiches, juices and soups purchased from the food bar in the back of the shop.

The best business advice he’s received? Keep the store relevant. “I was told to keep updating the store and keep up with all the new trends,” Noll said. “Because when you’re stuck doing the same old thing, you are no longer relevant and can get left in the dust, which I find is very true.” A new refrigeration system installed a few years ago, the bar-seating area inside the front window, a new paint job for the entire store as well as newly painted menus for the food bar demonstrate Noll’s commitment to continually evolving his store’s offerings.

Pacific Health Foods sources locally-made products from Carpinteria as much as possible, which can make unique gifts for family and friends. The store also offers an assortment of organic baby wear in soft muted colors and fabrics that are perfect for snuggling a little one. With a second baby due in March, Nathan and Whitney may well take advantage of their own product inventory in addition to the hand-me-downs they’ll no doubt use from their daughter Grace who is almost two.

Noll’s well-informed staff provides customers with answers about a wide variety of products. “I believe our knowledgeable staff is what sets us apart from other natural grocers,” Noll says. “We always have someone on hand who can answer questions and help the customers with whatever they may need.”

The most unique products at Pacific Health Foods are Hemp/CBD items that range from drinks to chocolates, tinctures to topical treatments, and customers report pain and stress relief as well as help with insomnia. “Just listen to your customers and the community,” Noll suggests to local entrepreneurs, “…build your business around them if you want to be successful.” He also notes that taking school and work seriously helped him find success. With a growing family and desire to serve the community, the Nolls are ready to make sure that Pacific Health Foods continues to be a go-to shopping experience for Carpinterians for years to come.

Learn more about the Noll family business at pacifichealthfoods.com.

Megan Waldrep is a columnist and freelance writer, currently living on a 34-foot sailboat. To learn more about Megan, visit meganwaldrep.com.

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