Shop Local: Rebecca's Natural Foods
This month for Boody’s Shop Local series we are featuring Rebecca's Natural Foods. Rebecca's Natural Foods is an independently owned and operated natural food store in Charlottesville, Virginia. They've been carrying Boody in their store since 2015.
We had the opportunity to speak with Brandon, who is their Store Co-Manager, as well as their HBA & Supplement Buyer.
How/when did Rebecca's Natural Foods store open and how has it evolved/grown since then?
Opened in 1987 and moved to a larger location where we still are a year later. Grew from a handful of staff to around 22. We offer natural foods and bulk, a wide array of supplements, body care, gifts and local items.
What is your store known for?
We are known for a knowledgeable, long-term staff (2-30 years) who pride themselves on research, offering the best possible options of a wide variety of products and great customer service.
How important is healthy living, and environmental sustainability to your business?
How has COVID-19 impacted your store? Any product areas that increased in sales?
In mid-March, we had our best sales ever and then we steadily decreased to 40% of our normal sales. Immune supplements, hand sanitizer, and paper products sold well for a month then CBD and stress supplements and local meat and canned goods.
Why did Rebecca's Natural Foods bring Boody into the store?
I brought in Boody at Expo East because I loved the sustainability and quality of the products that are functional and great for every day.
What are your top Boody sellers?
Cami tops, shaper bras, bikinis, 3/4 leggings
What’s your favorite Boody item?
Women’s brief or men’s work socks (so padded)
What are your plans for the future of Rebecca's Natural Foods?
We have expanded our alternative shopping options for called in/emailed grab-n-go, curbside pickup, mail order, or delivery within 20 miles. We are almost ready to launch an online ordering system for in-store pickup/delivery for our top sellers and will gradually increase the SKUs on it. We hope to still be able to provide quality natural foods and products to our community for a long time to come even as major changes are occurring in our ability to offer service in the same way.
What are your two top recommendations for anyone visiting Charlottesville, VA?
Visit Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home), The Downtown Mall (a pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants and a nearby brewery-hopefully many will make it), and the many local vineyards.
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What is Makeena? Makeena is a free and easy-to-use mobile app that helps you discover better-for-you, better-for-the-planet products, then rewards you for your purchases, anywhere you shop. Makeena is part of a larger movement — a movement to build better businesses. We believe small choices impact the world big time. Being B-Certified means we’re socially responsible and committed to being the change we wish to see in the world. We give back to environmental nonprofits as a member of 1% for the Planet and partner with other conscious companies. Where did the idea for Makeena come from? I have always been passionate about taking care of our planet. I grew up across the street from a corn field that was sprayed with pesticides, so from an early age I was very aware of the environmental impacts on what we eat. As a child I was also very concerned about people who didn’t have access to healthy food and was always looking for ways to help. Ultimately, when I went vegan in the 1980s I became even more aware of how difficult it can be to find brands that prioritize sustainability and make healthier products. Ultimately, these experiences motivated me to start Makeena so that everyone on this big, beautiful planet of ours can easily find and afford healthier food and eco-friendly products. We chose the name Makeena because it means “happiness” in Swahili and “abundance” in Hawiaiian. From our headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, we like to say Makeena also means empowerment. It puts the power of shopping for good directly into the hands of mindful consumers How did you start and launch the app? We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been selected to participate in a couple of accelerator programs with really smart mentors and advisors who have helped us refine our platform and build out our strategy. Along the way we’ve been able to stay true to our core purpose and vision -- which is making the world a better place through our technology and community that rewards the discovery and purchase of better-for-you, better-for-the-planet brands and products. We’re super excited about Makeena and the future! What have been some of the biggest hurdles? Like most businesses, the last few months have been difficult to navigate. We were in the middle of setting up a booth at a trade show for one of our industry's largest events when COVID restrictions forced a rapid change in plans. For us, the ability to be nimble and responsive, while sometimes painful, also teaches lessons in patience and resiliency. Ultimately, every hurdle you face in business can either be a curse or blessing -- it is all in the mindset you choose. What have been some of your biggest successes? We’re really excited by all 2020 has brought us so far! We earned our B-Certification in January, and are launching a new website, new functionality in our app, new newsletter, new community, and added some great people to our team. And the best part is, we still have half a year left to go! Truly, we believe the best days are ahead for Team Makeena! What are your best recommendations for someone new to the app? First off, thank you for downloading Makeena! We are excited to have you in our community. Second, start scrolling through our brand partners on Makeena and “unlock” experiences. Take the time to check out brands you already know and love, and those you haven’t yet tried! Be sure you engage with all the brands on social media, opt-in for their newsletters, and add items you want to try to your shopping list. Best of all, you can shop at your favorite store or online, anytime. Once you’re done shopping, scan the UPC codes for the Makeena products you’ve purchased, and take a photo of the receipt and upload it through the app. You’ll then get cash back through your PayPal or Venmo account. Finally, don’t forget to visit the Rebates page. You might find a fruit, vegetable, or even an organic household product that you haven’t used in a while that you can earn a little cash back on as well. Using the Makeena app is a fun way to explore something new and engage with great products that are truly better for you and better for the environment. How’s that for a win-win?!?