Carrie Rengers

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage to open near 13th and Maize

After a few years of what some west-siders consider a bit of neglect from specialty national grocery chains, that side of town is getting some attention.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is opening a store there next spring, according to Nancy Flynn, a spokeswoman for the Colorado-based chain.

The store will open just west of the Credit Union of America on the northwest corner of 13th and Maize.

Natural Grocers opened in late 2011 on Wichita’s east side at 1715 N. Rock Road, which was the former Borders Books space.

Fresh Market followed at Bradley Fair, and now Whole Foods Market is opening Sept. 3 at the Waterfront.

Natural Grocers sells what the company says is only 100 percent organically grown produce. Also, the chain carries a line of frozen natural foods in addition to bulk items. It refrigerates all of its nuts and seeds.

The new store will have a community room, a demonstration kitchen and on-staff nutritionists.

Mark McPherson of Equity Ventures Commercial Development, which is based in Denver and Topeka, handled the deal.

He says the new store will be 15,000 square feet, about 9,000 square feet of which will be for groceries and about 3,000 square feet of which will be for supplements, vitamins and cosmetics.

At the time Natural Grocers opened in Wichita, the almost 60-year-old chain had about 50 stores. Now, it has almost 90.

“We’ve really been facilitating quite a bit of growth for these guys,” McPherson says.

In an e-mail, Flynn said that Wichita is “such an amazing community for us with a population that has a lot of interest in changing their lives through health, diet and exercise.”

“It’s a growing community and they are intensely savvy shoppers, so they know what their questions are, our goal is to provide them with credentialed information, so they can make their educated choices,” Flynn wrote. “They are comparison shoppers, and rightly so in this economy, and they ask sound and solid questions before making their selections. We realize they can shop anywhere they wish and it’s our goal to offer them a broader range of healthy dietary selections, organic produce and all natural body care, housekeeping products and supplement combinations and free seminars, classes and cooking classes.”

There’s a projected opening date of March 10. Look for more information closer to the time.

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.