Natural Products Expo and Natural Foods Merchandiser joined to award retailers of the year in the categories of sustainability, innovation, community and best new store. At Natural Products Expo East over the weekend, Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets was honored with the top prize in the sustainability category.
With five locations in the Louisville metro area, Rainbow Blossom has offered shoppers a fresh, organic and local destination for bulk and traditional grocery, supplements and body care since 1977.
In fact, nearly all of the store’s produce is grown with organic methods—without the use of artificial pesticides or fertilizers—and the store guarantees that all the foods on its shelves are free of synthetic preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.
According to second-generation owner Summer Auerbach, it’s important for natural foods stores to take a stand and lead the way in sustainability. For Auerbach, running her business in a green way not only meshes with the store’s values but offers a unique opportunity to educate her shoppers about sustainability.
Sustainability stands out at Rainbow Blossom in these ways:
LEED certified: When Rainbow Blossom opened its fifth location in 2009, it became the first LEED certified retail store in the state of Kentucky. The four remaining locations integrate practices gleaned from certification including using repurposed materials and no-VOC paint to installing higher-efficiency coolers and touch-free faucets.
Loving local: About 70 percent of Rainbow Blossom’s produce is local, providing shoppers the opportunity to learn about and support small-scale, sustainable agriculture. Auerbach is also the founder of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, which, alongside 650 member businesses, educates the public about supporting local farmers and businesses as a sustainability and economic effort.
Growing green: Every year on Earth Day, Rainbow Blossom distributes 800 trees to shoppers to take home and plant. In its eighth year, shoppers were encouraged to share pictures of how their trees have grown. According to Auerbach, “It engages shoppers and makes them feel involved” in nature conservation and sustainability efforts.