You probably walked around Pacific Health Foods with your mouth half-open – like I did – the first time you saw the shop’s new renovations. 

We have added 20 feet of open produce cases to allow for more produce to be brought in from local organic farmers, as well as adding customer favorites,” owner Nathan Noll said. 

“With the size of the shop, we knew we only had a few layout options to work with. We would either go with a smaller produce section or go big and cover up the windows. We decided to go big.” 

The shop’s renovations focused on expanding overall operations and offering Carpinterians a wider selection of items. Nathan and his wife, Whitney, are the brains and brawn of the shop, located at 944 Linden Ave. When the pair aren’t working, they’re raising two little ones, which means stocking plenty of offerings for kids is a priority at the store. 

“In the baby food section, we have partnered with Once Upon A Farm to make sure our customers have the freshest organic pre-made baby food on the market with the addition of a small fridge to showcase their line,” Noll said. 

The parents aren’t forgotten, of course, with the doubling of the organic beer and wine section. There is also a large section of organic food items made in-house, which expands on the current juice bar menu. 

Of course, a big change doesn’t come without hiccups, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We experienced months of ‘Covid delays’ during this 8-month long process,” Noll said. “Whether it was missing parts, delays at the border, or having to postpone time off for employees this was definitely a project that tested our patience.” 

But once the dust settled, the vision took off. 

“The biggest joys came after the cases were in and product was starting to fill the shelves,” Noll said. “Seeing the looks on our friends, family and local community members’ faces after months of anticipation quickly erased all of the stress away.” 

Tri-County Produce in Santa Barbara has been a long-time inspiration to the Nolls, from its easy shopping experience to how they’ve supported local farmers and vendors for decades. But it was Carpinteria’s local community that spurred the change, Noll said.  

“We spent time listening to customers and what they want to see more of at the shop,” Noll said, where it became clear that fresh produce, more grass-fed meats, a more extensive beer and wine selection and an expansion of the organic food menu are top priorities for Pacific Health customers. 

“Simply put, we’re ‘your local organic market’ and will always strive to be.”

The Nolls said their advice to other business owners embarking on a remodel is to always hire professionals you know and trust; mentally prepare to pay 20–30% over your budget; and have grace and patience for all involved.

 

 

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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