Moniker Motivator

by Dave on August 22, 2009

by Andy Meddick

When Coastal Sussex Weekly’s Publisher and Editor, Dave Burris, approached me to write this column, I asked, “What’s the context Dave?” He said, “Call the column, “Organic Living.” Tell us about your experiences with living the organic life. Give us product reviews, organic gardening tips, help us understand issues and topics.” A beast was unleashed since Dave gives me license to roam!

I like a snappy title. This set me thinking about titles, names, or monikers, and how they impact my motivation to do what I do. Running my kind of business, is part of my organic living.

Moniker – a rose by any other name.

I cringe when people refer to us as a, “Health Food Store.” This moniker is a limiting definitive. “We’re so much more than Health Food,” I cry. Do we refer to a big box supermarket chain as that, “Unhealth Food Store?” Yeah sure, we carry ‘crunchy’, “Health Food.” I love it, and where else am I going to buy it in this area?

Try some ‘crunchy’ stuff – it’s not the cardboard, bland experience we all remember from the 1960s into the 1980s. The world has shrunk since then. Thanks to celebrity chefs and the Internet, international culinary knowledge has flooded our homes, prompting a demand for better food choices and ingredients. Food that tastes the way it used to (read before pesticide soaked monoculture). Food that is grown with respect for the soil, water and air quality, and yes, also respect for our health. These are no longer ‘fringe’ interests and no longer an either/or. Either we eat conveniently in styrofoam containers and have it taste good and cost little. Or we pay through the nose, have it taste, ‘healthy’ and not be able to get our kids/spouses to eat it. I believe this is reflected in the resurgence of small, independent food markets and farmers markets. It is no accident that stores within stores are popping up. These departments are a respectful nod to the days of Main Street’s Fishmonger, Cheesemonger, Greengrocer, and Baker.

Sometimes we feel the green has been beaten out of us, or we just want to get a good burger, nice bread roll, cheese, tomato and fixins. At such times we don’t want to bear the load of saving the world, we just want to eat! Is our only option then to turn to generic brands of vague ‘burger’ like products, or pull up to the drive-thru on the way home? Let me worry about saving the world and hunting down good pricing, you just enjoy the food! If you want to save the world too, I’m always in need of volunteers for my farm!

People ask me if I miss Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Don’t I wish they would open up in this area (don’t hold your breath people!)? Once I close my mouth, I realize I still have a lot of work to do with my business identity. Names are crucial to identity. To a lot of people, Good For You is boxed into that, “Health Food Store.” Ever noticed that we don’t look like your typical, “Health Food Store?” Ever noticed that our fresh organic produce section is as large, if not larger than our supplements department? I run an open business – inclusive of all diets: from the gluten free, or Vegan, or crunchy health food, or meat eaters, or regular food shopper, to the gourmand. How are we doing Vegans, Meaties, busy Moms, Chef, beach bums?

So, do I miss Whole Foods and Trader Joes? I miss the eye candy of their display. We don’t have their budget, and I know we’re asking you to come on a journey with us as we evolve. Compare our look now to 3 years ago. We’ve come a long way on our Organic Living path, thanks to your support. Pretty good for the budget we have! Do I miss shopping with WFM/TJ though? No, we’re sourcing from the same vendors; we’re introducing the same services over time. I even get a lot of the price deals they get. Food for thought indeed! WFM/TJ are my inspiration. It is a huge complement to hear a comparison. It is a huge motivator for me to hear people comment on how much they liked the artisan cheese they bought last week, or, “How come your Organic Grass-Fed milk is so cheap?” It’s also a huge motivator when someone tells us they came in for the first time because they heard we carry biodegradable flatware, or we have solar panels, or we’re the only place in town that carries seitan, or ghee, or crème fraiche.

If you’ve heard me speak, you’ve heard my, “Motivation to start the business” speech!

Here’s the Cliff Notes version:

“Man with odd accent relocates from Baltimore/DC metro area, misses Whole Foods Market and Trader Joes, gets fed up of wasting time and gas driving back to the city for decent food choices, meets others who’re doing the same thing. Man steps up and fills the gap with aim to provide: good food for conscious eating, at competitive prices!”

On motivators. I have lots. Many of them are written on the wall at our main cash register. Ruminate on them next time I can’t find the price code for produce or meat!

On monikers. Call us what you will, just focus on what we do and how we do it, not what box to put us in. However, if I hear, “that Health Food Store has great cheese and cheap organic produce.” More power to you! Don’t believe the hype, come see for yourself. Motivate me to do more and get better at it. “Make my day!”

Until next week Tree Huggers, remember, hugs not drugs, Eat well and leave the rest to us. Andy for Good For You Market.

This column first appeared in Coastal Sussex Weekly, July 9, 2009.

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