Twenty years ago, Jacksonville didn’t provide many options for people looking for organic and natural foods. A husband and wife team saw an opportunity to fill that void by launching a business that would become a homegrown success story.
Jacksonville’s leading chain of locally owned and operated natural foods stores, Native Sun Natural Foods Market, celebrates its 20th Anniversary at 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 18 at its Mandarin, Southside, and Jacksonville Beach locations
Owners Aaron and Erica Gottlieb opened the original Native Sun Natural Foods Market at 10000 San Jose Blvd in February of 1997. As a Jacksonville native, Aaron recognized the city’s need for natural and organic foods, turning his and Erica’s passion for healthy living into Jacksonville’s first natural foods market. With a focus on customers, and a commitment to unrivaled product standards, Native Sun grew, expanding the in-store selection to provide healthy options for every diet and eating occasion. In 2006 and 2015, Native Sun added locations in Jacksonville’s Southside and Jacksonville Beach neighborhoods respectively, introducing stores that have become community centers.
When Native Sun opened in 1997, it was Jacksonville’s only source for organic and natural foods. Today, organic and natural products are more accessible than ever, but Native Sun’s mission to improve people’s lives through the products it carries and the foods it creates continues to resonate with area shoppers. It’s a deeply personal mission that began with Native Sun Owner Aaron Gottlieb’s recognition of the power of proper diet and healthy food choices. “We opened our doors to provide access to natural foods to improve people’s health. We have had the privilege to work with doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, and other health providers, and have been honored to improve, and at times, make a major difference in the health of people in our community,” Aaron Gottlieb said.
“It’s about more than a single day; it’s about appreciating how far we’ve come and looking forward to the future!”
“I didn’t know it back in 1997, but Native Sun would eventually change the lives of my parents, wife, and children,” Gottlieb said. His father helped reverse his heart disease through diet, exercise, and meditation. Native Sun products helped alleviate his children’s allergies. “I have volumes of examples of customers who have had the same experience and understand that Native Sun was founded on providing access to a healthy lifestyle.”
On Feb.18 local vendors including Shakti Life Kitchen, Olive My Pickle, and Bold Bean Coffee Roasters will sample their products at all three stores. Customers are encouraged to taste fresh baked treats from Native Sun’s Gluten Free Bakery and may enter for a chance to win one of 100 reusable shopping bags filled with organic and natural goodies. Raffle entries are available in each store Feb. 1-15; winners are chosen during the Anniversary event on Feb. 18.
“It’s about more than a single day; it’s about appreciating how far we’ve come and looking forward to the future!” Gottlieb said.
Native Sun operates three locations in Jacksonville; the original store at 10000 San Jose Blvd., the second store at 11030 Baymeadows Rd., and the third store at 1585 Third Street N. in Jacksonville Beach. All three Native Sun locations are open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.