Where fast food meets fit living

The discrepancy between exercising as part of a healthy lifestyle and snacking on sweets and sugary drinks between workouts has inspired a new type of convenience store. Named after a tomato variety that grows well on the West Coast, Green Zebra opened its first location in 2013.

Founder and CEO Lisa Sedlar was spurred to start the business by her time working in an office near a University of Colorado campus. “I saw how college kids and office people would spend their lunch breaks going on bike rides into the Rocky Mountains — their commitment to training at lunch time was heroic,” she says.

“But when they were done with their ride, I often saw them go to the mini-mart to grab a quick ‘meal’ of a Big Gulp and a Snickers. I thought that was antithetical to their fitness goals, and it sparked a fire in me to one day create a healthy convenience store.”

Green Zebra stores sell healthy food and drinks such as custom-built vegan sandwiches, organic beer and small-batch “neighborhood” honey. The chain says about 30 percent of its products are from the region.

To create visual excitement, Green Zebra uses a wide range of colors that remind shoppers of the brilliant colors found in food: bright greens, purple-cabbage, mandarin orange, lemon-yellow, bright pink grapefruit.

“Unlike traditional convenience stores, our décor is designed to help you feel like it’s fun to shop here,” Sedlar says.

A new concept called “micro-Zebra” offers a self-checkout, kiosk-like system for offices that will sell kombucha and salads. “If all goes well,” Sedlar says, “we will have a dozen of these micro stores in the next 18-24 months.”

Green Zebra Grocery Inc.
Portland, Ore.
Founder and CEO: Lisa Sedlar
Locations: 3