Health food stores may serve a niche market but their customer base is unusually loyal. That said, health food stores (like their patrons) aren’t immortal.
Looks like the daily grind was just too wearing on The Daily Grind, located (as of September 6th, 2009) on Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland, Oregon. A tip of the cap to Flickr user Todd Mecklem for snapping the sad state of The Daily Grind, a store whose demise is both unexplained and unlikely: if a health food store can’t make it in Portland, where CAN it?
You can bet your Bjork Iceland’s got health food stores, though Heilsuhusid in Reykjavik, the northern nation’s capitol city, seems to be always closed according to Flickr user and traveler Sharyn Morrow (massdistraction). Heilsuhusid means “Health House” in Icelandic just in case you were wondering… and you know you were.
Founded in 1952, Carter’s Foods grew to become Michigan’s only grocery chain 100%-owned by its employees. Carter’s earned a reputation for fresh, healthy foods and produce but intense competition from Wal-Mart and regional supercenter chain Meijer caused Carter’s Foods to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2006. The sequence of images above dates from 2006, 2010 and 2013 and chronicles the Oscoda, MI store’s devolution from a thriving Carter’s Foods (Big Valu until 1993) to an abandoned building to possibly yet another grocery store. Full credit to Flickr user Bobby P. (wachovia_138) for the second two photos.
Originally settled by immigrant Swedish farmers in the 19th century, Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood has witnessed plenty of booms and busts including the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which led to the banning of wooden houses in all of Chicago. The Vitamin Outlet & Health Food store at 5158 N. Clark St. must have been quite an impressive site when it was built, occupying a prime retail location on the southwest corner of Clark and Foster. Times have changed, however, and Vitamin Outlet & Health Food store has (as of March 2014) joined generations of immigrant Swedes and flammable wooden homes in exiting Andersonville.
Since 1998, Energy Kitchen had been serving up healthy, calorie-conscious fare to health-conscious diners across New York City. All that came to an end in early November of 2013 when the chain suddenly shuttered all of its stores. Patrons had held out some hope after reading “renovating – be back soon!” notices on several stores but it seems Energy Kitchen simply couldn’t find the energy (or the funding) to carry on, renovations or not.
Was the name “Karmavore” just a tad too cute? Undoubtedly the Karmavore vegan café in New Westminster, British Columbia had more important reasons for shutting down, such as “a massive fire that resulted in the closure of our entire block and our premises for 2 months, from which we could not financially recover.” Karmavore began in 2009 as a vegan store located at 468 East Columbia Street but couldn’t cope with increased competition as vegan products have been embraced by more established food stores. Let’s hope at least the owners have kept the rights to their cool name and will re-open somewhere else in the near future.
One might wonder how a health food store could survive in West Texas, land of cattle, sheep and oil. Perhaps Cal of Cal’s Health Food Store should have wondered that too, before he opened shop in the 8,500-person town of Fort Stockton. Kudos to Flickr user Matthew Rutledge (rutlo) for capturing the weathered sign in front of Cal’s Health Food Store for the ages.