Nuts ‘n Berries interested in taking over Rainbow Natural Foods spaceImage obtained via rainbowgrocery.com
Rainbow Natural Foods has closed North Decatur Plaza, but another local health food store is interested in leasing the space.
Nuts ‘n Berries Healthy Market has signed a letter of intent with the landlord of the property to pursue a lease agreement for the space. Nuts ‘n Berries address is 4274 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30319, but the owner says it is actually located in Brookhaven.
The plan would be to reopen the former Rainbow Natural Foods store sometime in 2019.
Kevin Parker, owner of Nuts ‘n Berries said there are still some things required to make that work, including an investor.
“We we’re at now is looking for an investor to help us on this, as we would need some up front capital to repair/replace equipment and get the store started back up,” he said. “It will need to close for a few months regardless, while the landlord makes mandatory upgrades to the space to bring it up to current DeKalb County building code.”
The need to bring the property up to code was one of the reasons Rainbow’s owners decided to close the store. The upgrades made it hard to attract a buyer.
Tony Castaldi, 64, co-owned Rainbow with Jim Emerson, 86. The company held a “Thank You, Goodbye” day on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Castaldi told Decaturish that there were people interested in buying the store, but he said their interest waned when faced with the cost of bringing the building up to code.
“They learned and we learned that any time a business changes [hands] in DeKalb County and it’s over 3,500 square foot retail, that everything has to be brought up to the current code,” Castaldi said.
He said things like the store’s back dock and and exhaust system over its stoves would have to be improved before the company could reopen under new ownership.
Before Whole Foods and Sprouts, Rainbow Natural Foods was offering customers organic groceries, vegan food options, hard-to-find supplements, and a beloved hot bar. General Manager Laura Pallas’ decision to retire was another reason Castaldi and Emerson decided to close the business.
Other factors were behind the decision as well. Castaldi said when a Sprouts grocery store opened nearby, it cut into Rainbow’s business.
Nuts ‘n Berries has been around almost as long as Rainbow, which opened in 1976. Nuts ‘n Berries opened in the Atlanta area in 1980, according to the company’s website.
“The original ‘Nuts’ introduced the community to organic and natural products before anyone else thought they were cool,” the company’s website says. “And for over 30 years, Nuts ‘n Berries led the way. When the big box stores caught on, like many independent health food stores, Nuts ‘n Berries struggled and in 2015, the original owners sold the store to two ‘outsiders’ with a vision for the next generation of health food store. The new Nuts ‘n Berries owners, Mari Geier and Kevin Parker, see the Natural Foods Industry differently than the old school owners. And they are redefining what it means to be an independent health food store, a community resource and a small business leader in the new age of health and wellness.”
To learn more about Nuts ‘n Berries, click here.
Here is a copy of the letter of intent for the Rainbow Natural Foods space: