How to Start an Organic Food Store

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The demand for organic food has risen exponentially in the last decade. As consumers become more informed about the dangers of pesticides, hormones and other pollutants in their food, they increasingly seek out sources of quality organic food.

Starting an organic food store requires a lot of foresight, hard work and money. Depending on where the store is to be located, securing a steady supply of organic produce and other products could be challenging and expensive.

In most cases organic food is more expensive for the grocer to buy, and therefore, more expensive for the consumer. Before opening a store, it is important to evaluate if your proposed location has the socio-economic status to be able to afford the extra expense.

If these issues can be properly addressed and dealt with, owning an organic food store can be a financially and emotionally rewarding career.

Things You'll Need

  • Required government permits
  • Food distributors
  • Marketing plan and materials

Find a location to operate the store. Make sure it is in a community where there is both demand for such a store and financial means to support it. It is recommended to compare the pros/cons and prices of multiple locations in order to ensure the best location for the store.

Evaluate issues such as ease of finding the store, safety, the permitting laws of location, cost, parking availability and neighboring businesses.

Decide what products you would like to offer. There are many issues to consider. If you offer produce, meat or other perishables, you will need to have a way to refrigerate and freeze these products. You will also need to calculate the cost of loss, should these products not sell before they go bad or expire. Different products might require different permits. Make sure you review all rules and regulations before opening. A lawyer might be helpful for this. Decide if you want to only carry products which are certified organic, or if you also plan on carrying "all natural," "hormone-free" or local products.

Secure reliable food distributors. Execute official contracts.

Set up a marketing budget and plan. Marketing will help people know your store exists and what kind of products you offer. Investigate if you want to use local media (newspaper, TV, magazines or radio), public relations campaigns, special events/discounts, or other means of promotion.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using local farmers and other local merchants might be a good way to provide lower cost products, as opposed to using large name organic food distributors. Plus, local food is always freshest. Often marketing costs can be kept extremely low by employing a well thought-out, creative public relations campaign.
  • Make sure you have all the mandatory permits before opening. Know the rules and laws regarding labeling something 'organic'.

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