Healthy living has had a recent boom with the emergence of the millennial generation and their purchasing power. Today’s youngest generation has a hobby and it’s not that bad, it’s actually healthy – literally. As much as we are glad about our Gen Y living the healthy route to life and adulthood, we are also happy about the influence they made on eating healthy and advocating organic and natural food. In truth, the concept of producing crops through natural means started as early as the 1940s. Through the years, it has grown steadily and its influence became widespread in several industries like farming and supermarkets.
Natural or organic food are products that did not use synthetic chemicals. There are a lot of these organic kinds of food, from eggs to meat, and vegetables to fruits. If a person wants to purchase organic products for their pantry and to prepare in their households, all they need to do is go out and find a health food store or market that sells these products. In this article, we will uncover ten things about one of the best organic and natural health food stores in the United States. This store is the famous Big Bear Natural Foods.
10. The Owners
Big Bear Natural Foods is a food market that offers alternative natural food for their consumers. Big Bear has been providing its loyal customers with organic products since 1971. For 47 years, the Big Bear Natural Foods stores have been an important part of their respective neighborhoods, providing healthy food options at an affordable price. Unlike other stores that sell these kinds of products, Big Bear Natural Foods are true believers of the healing power of herbs. The owners of this natural food store are a tad private, we cannot even find a photo of them online, at least we got their names.
The owners of Big Bear Natural Foods is the husband and wife team of Rafi and Genya Gardee. They have cool nicknames, Rafi is called Pappa Bear, and of course Mamma Bear is Genya Gardee. Every Big Bear Natural Foods store has a team of employees led by the store manager, or for a more professional and lavish titular term, the Operations Manager. Then there is the Assistant Manager, and the rest of the staff, mainly customer service trained people. Pappa Bear, Rafi Gardee, can be reached via his email address through the company’s website. Phone numbers are also available for each store location.
9. Big Bear Stores
There is a chance that while you are reading this article, you might be remembering going inside or seeing a Big Bear Natural Foods Store somewhere. If it was just a few years ago then it is one of the Big Bear Natural Foods stores. But if it was like more than 14 years ago, it might have been in West Virginia or maybe Ohio. And if you are a native or if you grew up in Ohio or West Virginia, you would know exactly what we are talking about here. Big Bear Store supermarkets were founded in Columbus, Ohio, back in 1933. Not to be confused with the topic of this article, the also Ohio-originated supermarket chain was just Big Bear stores.
Big Bear Stores were an institution in the state of Ohio, and managed to branch out to its southeast neighbor West Virginia. You might have chanced upon a supermarket called Big Bear Plus, that one’s still owned by Big Bear Stores. This supermarket had its share of firsts in the supermarket industry. Big Bear Natural Foods is a store centered in only two states in the country (so far) and it’s definitely not in these two states, but they’re really close, hence the possible confusion.
8. All Natural, All Family Owned
So if Big Bear Stores is not affiliated whatsoever with Big Bear Natural Foods, how do we know which one is the store that specializes in healthy organic and natural products? First of all, this problem is no longer an issue today, Big Bear Stores has been closed since 2004, that’s about the time the company filed for bankruptcy and all stores in Ohio and West Virginia were closed. Second of all, the name and logo are very similar, but there is quite a distinction between the bears in the respective logos. Big Bear Stores has a more animated bear, leaner and is facing east. The Big Bear Natural Foods bear logo looks more real, is bigger, and seem to be heading west.
But of course, the best way to know is that Big Bear Natural Foods is a health food store. Coming inside the store, you’d already know what you are in for. It is a family-owned company, a warm welcome always greets the customer, and the customer service is personalized. It’s all natural, just like the products they offer. It’s been owned by Rafi and Genya Gardee’s family since 1971 and they’ve been operating like that with best results and optimum customer satisfaction.
7. The Sandwiches
Big Bear Natural Foods offers a good selection of sandwiches that are sure to be healthier, if not as, than Subway’s famous sandwiches. A customer can enjoy a healthy and filling sandwich for just $9, like the famous avocado dream sandwich. All their sandwiches have the following ingredients, which of course, came from organic and natural products: organic sprouts, tomato, lettuce, onion, cucumber, and the special big bear seasoning. The customer also has a choice between veganaise or hummus. The other $9 dollar sandwiches are the vegan chicken salad sandwich, the vegan curry chicken salad sandwich, the hummus and veggie sandwich, organic black bean burger, and the fakin’ bacon sandwich.
If a customer is a little bit hungrier, we suggest choosing any one of the $11 sandwiches, they’re sure to quench that hunger. Big Bear Natural foods have a turkey sandwich, the grilled chicken sandwich, and the chicken salad sandwich. One other sandwich alternative is the $9 falafel wrap. Of course, one can load their sandwiches with add-ons. They call them organic add-ons: organic chicken, organic turkey, fakin’ bacon, tuna salad, avocado, grape leaves, provolone, and vegan cheddar cheese. This hearty sandwich will not be complete without that perfect partner of one of Big Bear Natural Foods organic big bear smoothies or organic juices.
6. Where are they?
Big Bear Natural Foods has this for its slogan: “The ultimate destination for the hardcore health food junkie since 1971.” It’s a store that supports local produce by partnering with farmers who practice natural and organic methods in growing and producing their harvest in all areas of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When we say affordable prices, that is really what you will see in all Big Bear Natural Foods stores. They have products on sale almost every day of the week, and they make sure every customer that comes to the stores goes out satisfied.
Two Big Bear Natural Foods stores are located in Pennsylvania, one is in Morrisville at 925 Lincoln Highway. The other store is located in Langhorne, at 1246 Lincoln Highway. To the east of PA, Big Bear Natural Foods also has two stores in the state of New Jersey. One is in Pennington, at 9 Route 31. The other store is at 239 North Union in Lambertville. With all the success and support these three stores are enjoying, the family owned company is working on launching their fourth location. It will be the third Big Bear Natural Foods store in New Jersey, and is located in Ewing.
5. Employee and Customer Feedback
Big Bear Natural Foods is one of the best because they guarantee the freshness and the authenticity of their organic and natural products. The company supports its local producers, and only accepts certified organic produce. The company is also an advocate of the non-GMO movement and urges their people and the rest of their competition towards the same advocacy. But how is everyone else seeing the company in general? It all sounds great from the viewpoint of Big Bear Natural Foods, but is it all that great when it comes to customers and the employee feedback?
In general, Big Bear Natural Foods is a great company. We have not found any bad feedback or shared experience from a customer about the stores, the employees, and the service they provide. But looking at employee feedback, there are a few bad nuts out there. The entry-level positions in the company are sales reps, admin. assistants, and sales associates. There are a few comments about the salary, but who does not complain from time to time about their pay. All in all, these employees, or more probably, former employees, does not have anything else that’s negative to say about Big Bear Natural Foods.
4. All Organic Smoothies
This product is what we are talking about with the millennials. Every millennial starts their day, takes a break at the middle of the day, and ends their shift with a smoothie in hand. Smoothies are their signature drink, and it’s better than any other drink that they can think of as their generation’s official drink. It’s fresh, it’s healthy, and it’s full of vitamins with much fewer calories than any other regular drink, plus it’s very healthy. Big Bear Natural Foods takes their produce and turns them into smoothies and sells them for an affordable price. The different beverages offered by Big Bear Natural Foods are 100 percent organic and healthy. They are priced as low as $8 up to just $10. A customer can choose between organic smoothies and power smoothies.
Organic smoothie flavors are pumpkin pie, strawberry baby, banana bread, berry blast, and dirty banana – all priced at $8 each. Some other great smoothie flavors are beary blast, tropical typhoon, and golden turmeric smoothie. The power smoothie flavors are purple haze, protein power, avocado and omega, and green mountain mint. A customer can also add a protein to their smoothie for only an extra charge of $1.
3. The Competition
When it comes to health food stores, and to be totally honest, there’s not a lot of popular names that are so widely known in the country. Perhaps the biggest health food store in the nation is Whole Foods Market, and on that note, it is also one of the best. Learning that this kind of store or market tends to be regional, Whole Foods may be the biggest, but it’s not the best in every state. There are a number of health food stores that are clearly the leaders in their respective states because they are the best providers of organic and healthy produce.
In Oregon, there is no competition, the best health food store is LifeSource Natural Foods. It has been a staple for Salem residents since 1994. Second on the list is Chicago’s Local Foods. It’s not only a health food store, it’s also a great business partner to all Chicago local farms and meat shops. Wisconsin has Good Harvest Market. With 479 stores, Whole Foods is, far and away, the largest of them all. Big Bear Natural Foods only has 4 stores at the moment but is the leader in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas.
2. Big Bear Fitness Center
Healthy living does not just entail healthy eating, which can be provided for all households by the health food stores, it also requires a form of regular physical activity. Exercising is necessary to live a healthy life, and what better way is there to make them come together than what Big Bear Natural Foods offers its loyal customers? Currently, the Morrisville, Pennsylvania location is the store that has a fitness center. It’s just on the floor above the store and is called Big Bear Fitness and Yoga. The establishment was previously known as Blue Door Fitness.
The fitness center offers a range of programs from small group exercises to health coaching. Of course, they have yoga classes and offer private classes of all their programs as well. Health coaching is a good program for people looking to make changes, not only in their eating habits but also in their lifestyle. They also have dancing classes called Barre Fitness and Surfset Fitness, a workout that mirrors the sport of surfing. You can choose the program that you think is best for you by going to Big Bear Natural Foods website or right to the Big Bear Yoga fitness and yoga Facebook page.
1. Juices and Other Products
Organic smoothies and power smoothies are just some of the beverage choices one can get in Big Bear Natural Foods Juice Bar. There are also other options when it comes to food like sandwiches and wraps. They have juices and healthy shots, they also offer soups and salads. All these optional menu items come with a 100 percent guarantee of freshness and the healthiest kind of ingredients one can get. They wouldn’t call themselves a juice bar if they do not serve a single juice in their menu. They have the popular ABC (A Bear Cub) juice, that’s apple, berry, carrot and celery. They also serve apple spice juice and power greens juice.
They also have healthy shots like the fire cider and the wheat grass shot. The soup they have is just the soup of the day, but it’s always healthy and fresh. Other food choices include the mama bear veggie salad and the papa bear ceasar salad. How satisfying must be the feeling that when you get served a salad in Big Bear Natural Foods, you know that you are getting the healthiest, and only the best produce in town. This would make you want to go back for more.