DEL NORTE — A new business has hit the streets of Del Norte and has quickly become the talk of the town. Simple Foods Market opened its door last week, welcoming excited patrons to the new establishment. The small-town market offers a healthy, organic alternative that has been sorely missed in the area since the Organic Peddler closed its doors several years ago.
David and Laura Kephart spent the last seven months moving their 18-year-old business to the Del Norte area and opened the doors last week to the community.
“We opened last Monday, and it has been great so far. We are working on stocking shelves and look forward to offering more services, like our artisan deli once we are fully stocked,” said David Kephart.
Kephart and his wife started their business in Salida and after 18 years in the community and struggling to compete with a larger health-food chain, decided to close their doors just days before the pandemic hit.
“It was kind of perfect timing. We decided to close just three days before the pandemic hit which would have caused us to close anyway. Everything just worked out really smoothly for us and it has been great,” said Kephart.
It was at this time that friend and fellow business owner Jessica Lovelace told the Kephart’s about her hotel in Del Norte The Mellow Moon and both David and Laura decided to come down and check out the location.
“It was just kind of a perfect fit and so we started the process of packing everything up and moving,” Kephart said.
David and Laura have had a passion for organic, healthy food and supplements for many years beginning with their personal habits.
“We loved a health food co-op in Juno, Alaska that we frequented in our 20s. We also worked for Wild Oats in Albuquerque, New Mexico while we played with the idea of opening our own store. It was something we both developed a passion for. Salida was a place we really enjoyed visiting and that was where we decided to start our business,” said Kephart.
The new store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the possibility of extended hours come summer. While the Kephart’s are waiting for their stock to come in they will be preparing to open their artisan deli which will feature artisan sandwiches, fresh greens, soups, curries and coffee options.
“This is a mom-and-pop business and fits perfectly in the small-town setting,” Kephart said.
Simple Foods Market also offers locally sourced products from several area businesses, including Laz Ewe 2 Bar Goat Dairy, Grande Premium Meats, Sol Mountain Farm, Gosar Sausage and many more. Many of these products are already on the shelves with much more coming as produce comes into season.
“We have worked with many of these companies over the years and now we can almost cut out the middle-man because now we are so close. It has been great to finally meet the people behind our products,” Kephart said.
The store has a homey feel with amazing scents floating through the air and a quiet ambiance that makes shopping peaceful and enjoyable. Come by and greet the new business owners and grab some organic and healthy merchandise.