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Nuts ‘n Berries will open new store in old Rainbow Natural Foods space on June 1

Business COVID-19 Decatur Food Metro ATL

Nuts ‘n Berries will open new store in old Rainbow Natural Foods space on June 1

Image provided to Decaturish

Greater Decatur, GA — Health food store Nuts ‘n Berries will open its new Decatur location on June 1.

The retailer, based in Brookhaven, is opening at 2118 North Decatur Road in the old Rainbow Natural Foods location. It was a community institution, operating for more than four decades until it closed in 2019.

Kevin Parker, who co-owns the business with Mari Geier, said the store will look “100 percent different than what it was before.”

He said contractors stripped the place down to the studs and refurbished the store, so it looks “a lot more modern.” Nuts ‘n Berries built a new checkout station for registers, new shelving and a new dining space up front with a rolling garage door that can be opened during nicer weather.

“We built a kitchen from the ground up,” Parker said.

There will be a hot bar, but it will be arranged differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a server and plexiglass separating the customers and the food. Customers will order what they want, and the servers will spoon it into the containers, Parker said.

“We’re going to try and do all organic in the salad bar,” Parker said. “If not organic, then we’re shooting for non-GMO in all of our ingredients.”

He said he initially wasn’t sure what would happen when the pandemic hit.

“When all this hit in March, when the kind of the panic was happening, everyone was buying all the toilet paper,” Parker said. “Our current store in Brookhaven had the best month we’d had in the history of the store. The beginning of April is when Georgia’s lockdown started. We immediately initiated curbside pickup and all that helped keep things afloat. We took a 40 percent hit on our transaction count for April.”

He said things are starting to pick up again and his company was able to secure a payroll protection loan to get by.

Parker said getting the Decatur store open will help the company overall.

“For us, it was just if we could just get the store finished and open, we’ll be fine because we know what kind of numbers Rainbow did,” he said.

There will eventually be some homage to the Rainbow store, but Parker isn’t sure what it will be. Rainbow’s owners, Tony Castaldi and Jim Emerson, shared recipes with Parker and have contacted old customers to let them know the store would open soon.

“We’re going to mix in some of our own recipes as well,” Parker said. “We did want to have some of those old fan favorites from Rainbow.”

He said he’s currently not sure which old recipes will be on the menu. Starting Monday, hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday (to include breakfast service), and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Parker said there will be some soft openings this weekend. He said at least a dozen people stop by the store every day to find out when it will open.

“There’s genuine excitement going on,” Parker said.