Nature's Market expansion nearly complete

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The wall has come down, the refrigerators are in and the shelves are ready to be stocked. Nature's Market, located on 303 Center Hill Rd. in Manchester, is expanding.

Nature's Market is an independently owned and operated organic food and health care store that has been in Manchester for over 30 years.

Owner John Maltezos says the expansion, which has been several years in the making, came because "we got claustrophobic."

Inside Nature's Market's current space you will find a selection of natural and organic meats, local eggs year-round, local dairy, produce, cleaning supplies, food supplements, and health care items.

While the expansion is highly anticipated by Maltezos and his customers, it has been quite the undertaking. When Maltezos was first thinking about expanding his store he had to figure out what to do with the two apartments that occupied the space.

Since Maltezos believes in the importance of mixed use buildings in Manchester, he didn't like the thought of losing two apartments in the core of town.

So, he decided to move the apartments to the back of the building and renovate the store space.

"I feel this town, any town, needs a downtown component," Maltezos says as he talks about his building which has a total of six apartment units in addition to the store.

The next step was to consider materials and a heating and cooling unit. For Maltezos it wasn't a tough decision. He chose the most energy efficient and clean way he could to heat, cool and circulate air throughout the store.

As for the new space, it is modern with classic character. The walls are painted bright green and yellow which bring cheer to any dreary Vermont day.

The modern concrete floor and exposed heating ducts give the space a modern feel while the wood flooring and handmade wooden shelves bring warmth.

So, what can you expect to see at Nature's Market once the expansion is complete?

For one, Maltezos plans to expand his produce four to five times the current selection. You will also find an increase in refrigerated and frozen goods.

In addition, the added shelving will be used to provide space for producers with no current sales outlet. Maltezos plans on working with local producers, such as farmer's market vendors, to sell their products year round.

He also expects to have a spot in the store for local vendors to introduce and share their products with the consumer. This will allow shoppers to meet the grower or maker of your food and ask them questions.

But the vendors don't have to be on site to get your questions answered. Maltezos has passion for his job and he believes in what he sells.

"It is my lifestyle," he says. He and his colleague's knowledge of clean, real, organic food and food supplements is apparent.

Anyone who has shopped at Nature's Market understands it is a highly interactive business. Questions are being answered, information is being exchanged and a high caliber of service is being offered. It has a true community feel.

With this in mind, Nature's Market offers a different shopping experience for its customer. Shopping here is more of an event than an errand. And it's not about buying many large boxes. It's about buying the right product for your family.

So, Nature's Market's wall has been torn down and Maltezos has no regrets.

"I like to offer something to the community that will be a value for a long time," he says.

Anne Archer is a Journal contributor.

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