Retailer of the Year: Spotlight on the Runners-Up

There are so many natural products retailers out there, working passionately to make a difference. While Rainbow Blossom won this year, we want to commend our two runners-up for 2019:

  • Ellwood Thompson’s, an independent, local, organic market located in Richmond, VA, just celebrated 30 years.Check them out at
  • Lori’s Natural Food Center, based in Rochester, NY, is an independent, family operated, local grocer, established in 1981. Find out more at

Ellwood Thompson’s purpose: “Feeding the soul of our community,” according to their website. Their Purpose page includes links to their philosophy—but also to “Local 101,” the list of reasons why everyone should eat local; “Environmental Pledge,” wherein they discuss the efforts they go to to preserve the environment; their “Banned Ingredients List” made up of artificial everything plus things like talc, mineral oil, vanillin, and non-organic agave; and an explanation of their Wooden Nickel Program—customers who reuse bags are either offered 10 cents per bag, or two wooden nickels for charity.

Ellwood Thompson’s believes in transparency, information, and community—and they’ve built their mission into every customer interaction.

Related: 2019 Retailer of the Year: Rainbow Blossom
Happy Customer: Erewhon Market
Happy Customer: Weaver’s Way Co-op

Lori’s mission: to “help support your good health, the health of our community, and that of our planet.” Outreach is vital—their website is linked to their Instagram page, where they encourage readers to shop local, buy organic chestnuts in time for “chestnuts roasting over an open fire” season, enjoy a delicious looking Fruit + Nut Spinach Salad for lunch, and come in-store to discuss CBD. Lori’s has a list of events taking place this month—largely product demonstrations (PlusCBD, Andalou, Natural Factors), but they also have “Healthy Holiday Eating Tips” coming up—all ways to get customers in-store and get products off the shelves.

Lori’s makes customer service their top priority, and they strive to get customers to walk through the door to get the help they need.