Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Retail Format Innovation Memo: 'My Organic Market' Opens 'Mighty Healthy Pet;' A Natural Product's Store For Man's Best Friends

My Organic Market (known as MOM's), a fast-growing, five-store independent natural foods retailer with markets in Maryland and Virginia, has opened it's sixth natural products' store.

But this particular store has a twist to it unlike the other five MOM's natural foods' markets--it's not for humans but rather is for pets. of course, the human owners are welcome to accompany their pets on shopping trips to the new natural products' pet store.

That store, called Mighty Healthy Pet, is located just a few doors down from a My Organic Market natural foods store (for humans) in a shopping center in College Park, Maryland.

Mighty Healthy Pet sells a wide variety of natural, organic and healthy food for all types of pets, along with an array of pet treats, toys and related goodies. Pet foods span the categories: dry, refrigerated, frozen and even raw.

Among the natural pet products' stores offerings and attributes are:

>All of the pet foods are free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and additives.

>All of the pet food items in the store are made from either natural or organic ingredients.

>The pet food varieties include raw foods, freeze-dried products and cooked items, including a range of high protein and hypoallergenic grain-free pet foods for sensitive cats and dogs.

Mighty Healthy Pet merchandises a large selection of premium natural and organic pet food brands including:

>Stella & Chewy's From the Farm
>Aunt Jeni's Homemade
>Halo Purely for Pets
>Ziwi Peak
>Fromm's Four Star
>Wild Kitty Cat Food
>Honest Kitchen
>Country Pet
>Castor & Pollux Organix
>The Raw Advantage

These brands are just the tip of the natural pet emporium's brand list and product selection.

Mightly Healthy Pet also believes in holistic pet remedies. The store stocks a full selection of holistic remedies for pets, ranging from dust-free kitty litter and all-natural flower essences, to Kookamunga brand Catnip Bubbles, which are designed to make even fat cats and lazy dogs jump for joy.

Grooming supplies also are in plentiful supply at the natural pet store. These include natural and organic pet shampoos and conditioners, as well as toxic-free pet wipes. Pet hair brushes, combs and other grooming supplies line Mighty Healthy Pet's shelves as well.

My Organic Market (MOM's) also has extended its "green" and sustainable retailing policy to its natural pet products store. Lisa de Lima, MOM's vice president for grocery, tells Natural~Specialty Foods Memo, the natural products' retailer tries to buy as many pet products made from recycled materials for Mighty Healthy Pet's merchandise selection.

Products made from recycled materials include pet toys and bedding made from 100% recycled materials. The store also carries pet products made from organic cotton and natural hemp.

Lisa de Lima says MOM's sells a wide variety of natural and organic pet foods and products in its five natural foods stores in Baltimore and Virginia. However, the natural products' retailer has noticed an increased demand for the natural and healthy pet products and therefore decided to open its first freestanding natural pet products store next to its My Organic Market natural foods' (human) store in College Park.

The goal of Mighty Healthy Pet: "To keep our customers happy--humans and animals alike," says Ms. de Lima.

My Organic Market (MOM's) was founded in Beltsville, Maryland in 1987 by Scott Nash, who was all of 22 years old at the time. The initial store, called Organic Foods Express, was operated as a home delivery and mail order company by Nash out of his mother's garage, hence the name MOM's.

Nash then expanded operations by renting a 900 square foot warehouse, making MOM very happy to get her garage back, followed by opening his first store in about 1989. That store was a 2,000 square foot natural foods' market in Beltsville, which also then served as the picking warehouse for the mail order and delivery business.

The mail order and delivery business was eventually phased out and Nash put his focus on running the retail store.

In 1996, Nash closed the Beltville store and opened a new 6,000 square foot natural foods' market in nearby Rockville, Maryland, just one half-mile from the previous location. With the opening of that new, bigger market, he also changed the name from Organic Foods Express to My Organic Market, or MOM's.

MOM's opened its second natural foods store in 2000 in College Park, Maryland, followed by a third store in 2002, in Alexandria, Virginia.

The fourth MOM's natural and organic foods market opened in 2006 in Columbia East, Maryland, followed by the opening of the fifth and newest store in Fredrick, Maryland in April, 2007.

My Organic market is currently developing other store locations in Baltimore and Virginia as well as in nearby Washington, D.C.

MOM's says in its corporate mission statement that its number one reason for existing as a retail business is to "restore the environment to the maximum extent it is able to. "Whether taking action as individuals (both employees and customers), as a company, influencing other companies, funding legislative efforts, or supporting environmental advocacy groups, we will work tirelessly towards ensuring a clean and restored environment for our children and many future generations," the grocer's mission statement says.

The independent natural products' grocer is a founding member of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), a group in the Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia tri-state region that's organizing businesses to adopt and promote practical solutions for today's biggest environmental challenges, such as global warming and air pollution.

MOM's powers all of its stores on renewable energy by buying wind power credits. The grocer also builds it's new stores using environmental building guidelines and does things like putting skylights on the stores' roofs as a way to reduce electricity use.

The grocer isn't just a "green" or environmental grocer however. It's also a competitive one. For example, one of MOM's policies is that it guarantees to have the lowest prices on branded dry grocery, frozen, refrigerated, nutritional supplements and health and beauty care product in its stores.

If a customer finds any item in these categories at a cheaper price at another store in the region, My Organic Market will match that price. In fact, the natural products' retailer claims to be 10-20% cheaper on items in these categories than competitors such as Whole Foods Market.

MOM's newest store is scheduled to open either later this year or early next year in Washington D.C., and will be the natural foods' grocer's first store in the nation's capital.

No comments: