“This store is about healing. Healing with food, healing with herbs.”
These words come from Kathy Ringler, and one visit to her store, Neighborhood Natural Goods, proves them true.
Tucked away on a residential street in Salida across from the elementary school, Neighborhood Naturals is the city’s longest-running natural foods store.
But the location is not a detriment to commerce for Kathy. In the twenty or so minutes we were there for an interview, over a dozen folks of all ages passed through the doors, filling their baskets with whole grains, vegetables, soaps, lotions and vitamins.
Kathy, a Certified Nutritional Herbalist, says she first opened the business in downtown Salida in 1980 because “I needed the food.”
Soon afterward, she moved the store to the current location on West Seventh Street, a small remodeled outbuilding packed to the rafters with products of all sorts reflecting Kathy’s passion for healing. What has changed over the years, she says, is the awareness of the customers. “Staying well and healthy is vital to our lifestyle. There are a lot of different modalities in here, and I will often help steer the customer in the right direction.” Often her customers will return and say, “Hey, that worked,” if Kathy advised them on a health issue.
She feels very strongly about fresh foods. “This is the way we are going to get well, all of us. The other way that people are going to get well is to take responsibility for their own health, and I can help them with that. If people want to get well, they’ll find that path. When the focus is on the products, and you have good quality products, people will seek you out.”
In addition to the groceries, bulk items, soaps, herbs and other health-related items, the store also carries gifts such as crystals, incense, carvings, woven hats and baskets. “We’ve always had swag in here,” she offers.
She also has a lot of basics for health and beauty aid. Asked for the secret of her success, she smiled and responded, “None of this would exist without the customer.” – By Central Staff
520 W. Seventh Street, Salida. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 719-539-7409