Local, gluten-free and readymade
Hooksett market celebrates six months
By Linda A. Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural Choice Market in Hooksett will hold an open house on Saturday, May 17.
The event marks six months in business for owners Deborah and Sarah Richards, the mother and daughter who created the store.
“We’ve always lived this way, using organic and natural products,” Deborah Richards said. “When my daughter got out of school with her degree in business, we were tossing around ideas of what to do. This was our passion.”
A huge tent will fill a chunk of the parking lot for vendors with samples of their products. Some of the event’s participants include New Chapter supplements, Sante makeup, White Mountain Kettle Corn, Walpole Creamery ice cream and Teacher’s Pet dog treats. The day will also feature music, raffles and an appearance by Pepper, a miniature horse. The open house will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Richards is an interior designer, and planned out the store herself. The log cabin-style building houses a wide-open area with aisles designed specifically to be handicapped-accessible. She, or one of the other staff members, tries to provide impeccable customer service. For example, they will grind the White Mountain coffee for you and carry your purchases to your car.
“I made the store into the type of place where I’d like to shop. The community response has been tremendous. There was definitely a need for a store like this,” she said.
The market specializes in gluten-free products, each one clearly marked with a lavender sign. There are also ready-to-eat organic dinners and sandwiches. The store is a member of Made in New Hampshire and offers a number of local items.
“The things you get from the small vendors, they bring them here themselves,” Richards said. “In March, our maple syrup was made the same day it arrived.”
“Forty or 50 years ago, this is the way people lived. People are going back to that way of life. This isn’t a fad. This is the way life is supposed to be,” she said.
Richards said she tries to keep the prices low by ordering extra stock when vendors are running specials. Her goal is to have enough products available to sell at the lower price until the products go on sale again.
Along with the main market, there are other services offered on the building’s second floor. Space is rented to a massage therapist and a Reiki instructor. Another room is used to make gift baskets — a large part of the market’s business. Also, in the bamboo room, customers can try on the large selection of Earth Shoes, a line of footwear with a special heel said to brings the body into proper alignment.
The Richards give back to the community by sending a care package to soldiers in Iraq every three months. It started at Christmas, when a local teacher stopped in and asked them to donate. “It kind of bugged me that you only hear about it at Christmas time,” Deborah said. She got her vendors to donate enough items to send packages on a regular basis. In March they sent a taste of New Hampshire with maple syrup, crackers and granola bars.