15 years snuck up on Rattray
May 26, 2007
Jennifer Rattray saw other small businesses come and go during the 15 years she’s operated Fair Weather Natural Foods.
"There’s a lot of small specialty stores that don’t make it," she said while pointing out the window of her store towards Main Street. "It’s not easy, there’s so many reasons why they don’t make it."
Because of the difficulty in maintaining a small business in Park City, Rattray decided to reward her faithful Park City customers.
"I have a lot of gratitude for the support I received from the locals," Rattray said.
From May 26 until June 1, Fair Weather Natural Foods will be celebrating its 15th anniversary and customers will receive 15 percent off lunches and supplements. The store offers natural and organic produce, groceries, supplements, sandwiches and soups among other merchandise and food.
Rattray said she is proud to have been able to survive for a decade and a half.
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"I’ve weathered all the changes in Park City," she said, "the growth, the high cost of owning and a major competitor (Wild Oats) that came in. It’s difficult enough running a small business without the corporate giants."
When Wild Oats came to Park City, she saw a drop in sales but the store soon rebounded, she said, because of a different level of service that her store, like other small Park City shops, offers.
"It’s about service and knowing the customers and one-on-one consultation," Rattray said. "Customers like being known by name and I like to help them with health issues."
One of those customers is Carrie Hopkins, who has been a regular for the seven years she’s lived here.
"It’s a Park City landmark," Hopkins said of Fair Weather Natural Foods. "It has a wonderful atmosphere and products."
She likes to shop here instead of other larger stores, for the same reasons Rattray pointed out.
"It’s more personal and I know the people that work here," Hopkins said. "I love to shop local shops. I’d rather shop here and support local stores than the big chain stores."
Part of the reason she’s had success through the "constant demand for change" is because of hiring "nice employees," she said, that have her same vision.
"I’ve been able to stay here and I’m pretty proud of what I created," Rattray said.
The decade and a half snuck up on her, however.
"It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long," Rattray said. "It’s like watching a child grow up. I’m proud of the fact that it’s standing on its own two feet."
Rattray started the store because of a passion for health food and promoting it. Since she was young, she said she’s always had a "vision" of running a similar business long-term.
"I started doing this 25 years ago when I was 18," Rattray said. "I always felt like this was a solid place for me to stand. I’ve been passionate about my service."
As food is getting more processed, she said, people need more options for healthier food.
"I want Park City to have a local community health food store that is locally owned where people can have other affordable options," she said.
In the next 15 years, if it comes to that, Rattray hopes to expand on what she currently has developed.
"I want to expand on what we do well: serving healthy food, promoting health and giving healthy knowledge and tools to live a healthy life," Rattray said.
To accomplish this, she eventually wants to move into a larger space nearby the current one.
"I’m hoping to have a bigger space to expand our healthy lunches," Rattray said.
Since she added dining tables and more lunch options to her store during the Olympics, the store has "grown into a happening lunch business," she said. But she doesn’t have the space to expand the lunches and integrate other wellness options.
"I’d like to incorporate more of an ability to do natural food counseling and bring in other practitioners that want to promote health in other areas," Rattray said. "In another 15 years, I’d like to do more with helping people with nutrition and lifestyle."
If the first 15 years is any indication, she will be content for another.
"I love what I do and it’s been a great journey for me. I’m lucky to have found something I love and be in a place like Park City that I love," she said.
Fair Weather Natural Foods will offer 15 percent discount on lunches and supplements next week as part of its 15th year anniversary. The store is located at 1271 Iron Horse Drive. For more information, call 649-4561.