Roots closes its doors, leaving foodies searching for fresh, local options

Many people are going out of their ways to eat healthy, but it’s harder to find more organic types of foods in one place.

For over a decade, Cedar Falls citizens have had one store exclusively focusing on bringing them healthy and organically grown produce, Roots Market. When Roots Market first opened its doors, it was one of the only places in town that sold natural, local and organic products. First opening in 2001, and changing ownership once, their doors closed to the public in mid-August this summer. After that, a question on their customers’ minds was, “Where do I get my organic food now?”

“I’m actually very sad that [Roots Market] closed. I’m a vegetarian, so I got a lot of supplements and food from there,” senior Alex DeMartino said.

While the whole “health craze” was starting its early stages, other competition started popping up. While there were always farmer’s markets that happened every summer that gave people access to locally grown organic foods, others started catching on to the trend. Hy-Vee’s health food market section has done really well in becoming a main place to get organic foods. Wal-Mart and many other commercial stores have also added health food sections, so it’s not very hard to find most of the organic foods people are looking for.

“I shop in the Hy-Vee health food section now that Roots Market closed; it’s not the same brands but essentially the same products,” DeMartino said.

Other than just providing customers with organic food, Roots Market also bought locally grown produce in support of local businesses. In an e-mail Rob Pruitt, the former owner of the store, sent out, he wrote that Roots Market purchased over one million dollars worth of products from local producers in the past nine years. They also supported the Grassroots Cafe, which is a type of school lunch program at the now closed lab school that had healthier meals for students. They also employed over 40 people from the Cedar Falls area and were committed to having 100 percent organic produce.

“It’s a little disappointing that they closed because I support local businesses, and that was a successful place for people to buy organic produce and groceries,” senior Nicole Jeffery said.

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