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A Natural Fit

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CONCEPT2WATCH

MOLLIE STONE’S MARKETS
Mill Valley, Calif.
Co-founders/owners: David Bennett and Mike Stone
Locations: Nine
www.molliestones.com

It’s not unusual for traditional supermarket chains like Kroger and Albertson’s to sell natural and organic foods.

When Mollie Stone’s Markets began doing it a quarter-century ago, however, it made some food vendors uncomfortable: They were afraid that putting a traditional supermarket and a natural food market under the same roof might make customers mistrust their brands.

But Mollie Stone’s created “the best of both worlds,” says co-founder and owner David Bennett, of the supermarket/natural foods store that provided shoppers with “a choice and the ability to compare the various product options.”

“We decided to open up a food store that would be good for people,” Bennett says. “We felt there would be a definite need to raise the quality level of food. We also felt there was a need for a store where people could buy Frosted Flakes and meatless vegetarian entrees all in one place.”

Today Mollie Stone’s has nine markets and is “constantly looking for new locations,” says Bennett. Stores range in size from 6,500 sq. ft. to 45,000 sq. ft.

The stores use samplings and demos to “give customers a feel for how natural and organic products compare to traditional mass market brands,” Bennett says.

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