by Central Staff
Childhood sweethearts David and Laura Kephart grew up on the same street in Fulton, Kentucky and together, have followed their dreams and opened their own natural foods grocery store in Salida, Simple Foods.
Drawn to the city for its recreational opportunities and a sense of being populated by real people, the couple opened their store in July 2002 and have been going strong ever since.
After moving to Alaska after college and getting married, the two eventually landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they found work with the Wild Oats chain of natural grocers. They continued to work for the store in Boulder and Denver during its merger with Whole Foods. Their positive experiences in that business led them to consider the possibility of owning their own “Mom and Pop” version in a smaller mountain community. About three years prior to the opening of Simple Foods, they created a draft of their business plan. “We spent about three months researching and developing our business plan and thereafter made a conscious decision to pursue this dream,” said David. With the help of friends, contractors and volunteers, they built the store, located at 1548 G Street, in about two months.
“Some people head for the best tourist attractions when traveling. We head straight for the natural food stores, wherever we may be. I feel certain that we fall under the “foodie” category. I think Simple Foods is an amalgam of our shopping and working experiences,” they replied when asked if there was any one particular model for the store.
Inventory is based on several factors: customer requests, ingredients, where it is produced, price, packaging, trends, sales data, etc. They work to offer a unique product selection to customers, based always on high quality.
“We are proponents of getting what you need to be healthy from the food that you eat versus from the pills that you take. Vitamins, herbs and supplements have their place, but for us, it’s all about the food. We believe it is most healthful and cheapest to eat food in its most whole form, such as vegetables, fruits, dried beans and grains, and nuts. Read the ingredients, support local producers and buy organic when possible,” they said.
Asked for their thoughts on the future of food in the U.S., they expressed some concerns but also see rays of hope. “A big trend toward backyard gardening, support of local food producers, more recyclable and reduced packaging, and educational efforts from Guidestone’s local programs to ‘The Botany of Desire,’ are very favorable movements in what we consider to be the right direction.”
Simple Foods’ motto is, “Live simply, eat well,” and the Kephart’s belief in that is evident the moment you enter their store.
1548 G Street, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., 719-539-7144, www.simplefoodsmarket.com