Hinesville health-and-wellness retailer Farmer’s Natural Foods celebrated their 36th year in business with an anniversary celebration, during which customers were welcomed into the store for special savings, in-store demonstrations and food tastings and samples.
The observance ran May 3-4.
Store Owner Jerry Poppell, is a native of Hinesville and former educator with the Liberty County School system, who spent his early years working on his family’s farm. Later on he decided to learn about nutrition, whole foods and healthy lifestyles. He left the school system and opened up the store.
He opened the original store less than a block away from its current location on Highway 196 near Veterans Parkway. That first store, opened back in March 1983, in what is now the Hinesville Western Store. It was designed to look like an old, country-style barn.
He ran the store solo for seven years as a bachelor. Along the way, Poppell met his wife, Roberta, through the wellness industry and they ran the store together in its original location for two more years.
In 1992 the couple expanded Farmer’s Natural Foods by purchasing the building, which is their current location at, 745 E.G. Miles Parkway. As business continued to thrive they managed to double the size of their store and added a juice bar.
At this past weekend’s celebration, a crowd gathered around the juice bar where a table had been set up providing samplings of healthy nutritional foods. Assistant Store Manager Jeffery Towery was swift in greeting customers as well as providing them with information on the various benefits of essential oils, vitamins and supplements. People lined up at the smoothie bar ordering the weekend special, organic peaches-n-cream, a new smoothie they whipped up using organic peaches, vanilla protein and coconut milk.
Proudly displayed on the smoothie bar counter is a Coastal Courier news story about their smoothie bar being chosen as one of the top 10 smoothie by besthingsga.com. It continues to attract people to their store who seek a healthier alternative to fast food products.
Farmer’s customers received a variety of free samples, were treated to massages, learned how a plant-based diet helped a woman beat cancer and entertained with jazz music from Bernard Rose.
Outside, for the second year in a row, Second Chances Equine Rescue was on hand teaching people about their organization and rescue horses. Director Andrea Doolitttle brought Towery’s favorite horse Cheyenne.
Towery helped the rescue nurse Cheyenne back to health when she was brought to the rescue with a tumor that everyone thought would lead to her death.
Doolittle called Towery seeking advice. Doolittle said they used what Towery recommended and the tumor eventually shrunk then burst out through one of the horse’s eye. It is the only scar it left behind.
As the festivities played out throughout the weekend Roberta Poppell said she feels blessed. She said they owe their success to their loyal customer base, their long-time employees and their superb customer service.
“We are like family here,” she said of her customers and employees. “I see people shopping here who were once kids and now they are bringing in their families. It’s such a treat to see that.”
She added they listen to what people say and what they want and are constantly adapting to meet those needs.
The store continues to serve a niche group of people, who are mobile and web-savvy shoppers who prefer the one-on-one attention Farmer’s provides to their customers.
“People are interested in being healthy,” and they come in they even check things on their cell phone to verify prices and costs,” she said. “But we treat everyone right and they enjoy coming in here.”
She said they are always open to bringing in new products, researching the latest information on health and nutrition and passing the information along to their clients.
About Farmer’s Natural Foods
The store offers a variety of nutritional vitamins and supplements, organic produce, natural remedies and beauty products. At their juice bar, they offer smoothies and fruit-and-vegetable drinks that are designed to boost physical performance and support immune systems.
They have recently expanded their selection or locally grown organic produce and continue to provide healthy grab-and-go readymade food options.
As often as possible, the store offers free lectures presented by area experts. They cover a wide range of topics, such as organic farming, the dangers of processed and genetically modified foods, tainted meats and pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables, obesity, juicing, weight-loss and nutrition. They periodically offer movie nights so customers can come in and watch films and documentaries regarding the food industry, farming and general health topics.