Simple Foods Market: Our Story
July 5, 2002 – About half of the store remained to be stocked and priced, but the mounting pressure from eager community members who were excited about the new natural foods market arriving in their mountain town of 5,000 people drove the soft opening to happen that day.
About five years prior to this date, founders and avid natural food consumers David and Laura Kephart started toying with the idea of a large-scale natural products store… kind of like a “Wal-Mart,” but full of natural, ecologically-minded products that would be an alternative to the current selection offered by the big box retailers. The notion was developed into a business plan by David during his graduate studies. The next step: three years of real life experience. Both Laura and David worked for Wild Oats/Whole Foods Markets, moving steadily up the ranks within the natural food pioneers. After three years of city living (Denver), the appeal of a large-scale venture in a large city had lost some of its luster. The next idea to arise was for a “Mom & Pop” type of natural grocery store in a more rural, mountainous setting. In steps Salida.
After three months of revisions to the plan, the Kepharts started looking into communities for such a venture. Having grown up in a like-sized community in Western Kentucky, Salida had an allure to the Kepharts. From the moment the research into Salida started, the whole process moved like a snowball down a mountain slope.
Simple Foods Market is now, many years later, continuing to offer the most comprehensive selection of natural, organic and gourmet foods available in the area.