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Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers

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Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers
Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers on Wyoming Blvd, Albuquerque NM.jpg
Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers on Wyoming Blvd, Albuquerque NM.jpg
Vitamin Cottage on Wyoming Blvd in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Traded asNYSE: NGVC
  • Grocery store
  • Health food store
Founded 📆
  • 1955; 65 years ago (1955)
Founder 👔
Headquarters 🏙️Lakewood, Colorado, U.S.
Areas served 🗺️
United States
Number of employees

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.[1] The company operates over 140 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 3,000 employees[2] and new stores opening monthly.[3][4][5] Products include vitamins, dietary supplements, natural and organic food, organic produce and natural body care products.[6][7]


The business was founded in 1955 as a door-to-door sales operation by Margaret and Philip Isely.[8] They opened the first Vitamin Cottage store in Lakewood, Colorado in 1963.[8]

After Margaret Isely's death in 1997, the Iselys' children took over the business the following year.[9]

Beginning in 2008, Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers phased in a name change to Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, to emphasize that groceries, rather than nutritional supplements, formed a majority of its sales.[10]

The company made its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2012, raising $107 million.[11]

Products and services[edit]

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.[citation needed]

The company has a manifesto entitled "What We Won't Sell and Why".[12][13] 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 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.[citation needed]

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.[14] 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.[citation needed]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2006, the management team reached the Rocky Mountain regional final for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition.[15]

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage received the Best Gourmet Grocery Store award from Denver's Channel 7.[citation needed]

In September 2009, Natural Grocers was named [16] Colorado Top Retailer of the Year by CoBiz magazine.

Vitamin Retailer magazine named Natural Grocers as Vitamin Retailer of the Year in 2010.[17]

Compassion in World Farming awarded Natural Grocers the Good Egg Award for their commitment to selling only free-range eggs in 2017.


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/business/an-upscale-bounty-and-a-thankful-shopper.html
  2. Davis, Joyzelle (2008-03-14). "Vitamin Cottage stressing food in new name". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  3. http://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2014/09/18/natural-foods-grocer-coming-reno/15851717/
  4. https://lasvegassun.com/news/2016/jul/26/grocery-chain-expanding-to-north-las-vegas-henders/
  5. https://www.reviewjournal.com/uncategorized/natural-grocers-opens-locations-in-north-las-vegas-henderson/
  6. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/22/dairy-plant-milk-soy-coconut-choices/23489445/
  7. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/local/2015/05/27/natural-grocers-locations/28018595/
  8. 8.0 8.1 Mark Antonation (April 17, 2015). "Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers celebrates sixty years next week". Westword. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  9. Lindsay Blakely (April 2015). "How this family-run organic grocer is taking on Whole Foods". Inc. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  10. Joyzelle Davis (March 14, 2008). "Vitamin Cottage stressing food in chain's new name". Rocky Mountain News – via NewsBank.
  11. Michelle Zayed (July 25, 2012). "Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage filed a successful public offering". Denver Post. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  12. Tom Lotshaw (April 21, 2013). "Natural Grocers to open". Daily Inter Lake. Kalispell, MT. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  13. "What We Won't Sell and Why". Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  14. "Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage to Go Completely "Bag Free"". Reuters. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  15. "Entrepreneur finalists named". Denver Business Journal. 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  16. "CoBiz 2009 Top Companies". Colorado Business Magazine. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  17. http://vitaminretailer.com/2010-retailer-of-the-year

External links[edit]

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