Nowadays, just about any grocery store carries natural and organic foods, sometimes in a separate section or aisle. But when Mollie Stone’s Markets – which began selling only natural foods in the San Francisco Bay area in 1986 – first combined the two side-by-side, the biggest objections were from the natural vitamin and supplement industries.

The United States has exported many concepts to the rest of the world over the years: blue jeans, fast-food hamburger joints and now warehouse club stores. PriceSmart is a warehouse club based in San Diego but with no retail locations in the United States. This club concept has taken root in 13 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean and is seeing consistent and steady growth.

Purple Cow Stores may be new to the convenience store scene, but the chain has already established itself as the Southeast’s upscale option. With five stores in the Slidell, La., area, eight in Montgomery, Ala., two on the Mississippi coast and one store in Mobile, Ala., and plans to expand, the one-and-a-half-year-old company has moved quickly to gain this foothold. Now it’s time to focus on the details.

With the shadow of high unemployment rates permeating news reports, it’s hard to imagine that there is an area of the country with more jobs than people to fill them. At least, that is the impression John Phillips, owner of Regal Oil Inc., has of the economic situation in the region. “It’s strange to see how high the unemployment rate is everywhere, and here in West Texas it’s hard to find employees,” Phillips says.

One thing that has not changed for humanity over time is the need to provide food for itself. What has changed, however, is how we go about doing it – from hunting in ancient times to the every day markets of the middle ages, small specialty stores at the beginning of the century and large chain supermarkets nowadays. Even within mammoth supermarkets, the way we learn about our food options and make our choices has changed drastically in the last 10 years.

rmcover janfeb2016

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