South Plainfield, NJ— WholeFoods Magazine chose Springfield, MO-based MaMa Jean’s Natural Market as its 2018 Retailer of the Year. The women-owned MaMa Jean’s was established in 2002 by Susie Farbin and Diana Hicks. They named it after their mothers: “MaMa” Loweta Hicks and Jean Farbin, with the goal of bringing local, organic and natural foods to the Springfield community.

Farbin got her start in her mother’s health food store Jean’s Health Ways in Ava, an hour and a half outside of Springfield. Many of the Ava store’s customers were making the trek from Springfield to meet their grocery needs.

Sensing an opportunity, Susie realized Springfield needed a natural products retailer of its own and with her experience and industry knowledge, she was the one to start it. Her partner Hicks brought extensive customer service skills to the table, having worked for O’Reilly Auto Parts for much of her professional career.

MaMa Jean’s quickly became a staple of its community, expanding to four locations and growing staff over the years from 6 to 200, demonstrating the huge impact an independent retailer can have on a town and just how much people yearn for good quality foods and a reliable place to purchase them.

MaMa Jean’s not only supplies non-GMO grocery products and an extensive selection of supplements and body care products, but also deli and prepared food in its stores and a dedicated deli location, as well as a great selection of bulk products such as herbs and spices that are very cost effective for their customers.

Given Hicks’ background, MaMa Jean’s staff and leadership prides itself on customer service, listening to the clientele, in person and through an active social media presence to guarantee a great experience and continued improvement. The retailer also gets involved, participating in local events and hosting dozens of local vendors for an annual tasting fair. A portion of money from each register also goes to local non-profits through the Spare Change for Change program. A family-owned company, Susie’s children also play a large role in the business, her daughter Kelly acting as general manager and her son Jeff as central buyer. WholeFoods congratulates MaMa Jean’s and invites you to learn more about this thoughtful and innovative retailer in our July issue.