New York, NY—For more than 15 years, LifeThyme Natural Market has provided customers with the finest natural and organic products. Located in Greenwich Village, the store certainly felt the disabling effects of Hurricane Sandy. Although the store did not sustain any property damage, they were left without power for a week, resulting in the loss of many frozen and dairy products. The store was up and running as of November 3rd and was fully stocked by November 5th.

Vernon, NJ—Healthy Thymes, a small natural products store is not just another business that felt the effects of Hurricane Sandy. In the last month, the store was exposed not only to a hurricane, but also an earthquake and a snowstorm. Miraculously, physical damage was minimal at Healthy Thymes. While wind was the main culprit of damage in this area of the state, owner Dan Segal says that his store lost power for four and a half days. In that time period, Segal was forced to discard all of the products that he keeps in his 22-door refrigerator and frozen department.

We’ve all heard the numbers: millions on the East Coast go without power for weeks in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. But, there are real faces behind these figures, and many of them are our friends and colleagues in the natural products industry.

Oceanside, NY—After two weeks without power and losing five of 30 employees to displacement after the storm, Howard Chasser, owner of Jandi’s Natural Market, had no problem rolling up his sleeves and jumping on the register to ring-up and listen to his customers’ horror stories.

Woodbury, CT—Throughout the past year, Connecticut’s New Morning Market was still feeling the financial effects of the three major storms they faced last year. With Hurricane Sandy approaching, founder and owner John Pittari prepared by having all perishables items moved into his walk-in freezer.

Spring Lake Heights, NJ—Located a mile off New Jersey’s coast, Nature’s Corner Natural Market faced the effects of Hurricane Sandy along with many neighboring stores. With 18 years experience providing healthy, local and fresh natural foods for their community, their mission is to benefit the wellness of their customers and their families.

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For the third year in a row, I’ve been honored to assist in analyzing the data from WholeFoods Magazine’s Retailer Survey, which starts on page 20, and this year is outstanding! We’ve had the largest response in 35 years of doing the survey, and the quality of stores is truly remarkable. With nearly one million square feet and $665 million in sales represented, the survey offers a comprehensive view of our dynamic industry, from the smallest supplements store to the largest fresh-foods supermarket.