Fairweather Natural Foods celebrates 25 years in Park City
Owner says support from Parkites has been critical
June 23, 2017
When Jennifer Rattray began working at the then-brand new Fairweather Natural Foods shop on Iron Horse Drive shortly after moving to Park City in 1992, she had no idea she'd take ownership of the store a few years later.
She certainly had no inkling she'd still be running it after a quarter of a century.
"I definitely wasn't thinking that far ahead at all," said Rattray, who admits she didn't grow up dreaming of owning a market.
Nonetheless, Rattray and Fairweather Natural Foods are readying to celebrate the store's 25th anniversary in July. She said she's grateful the shop — which features an eatery offering dishes such as soups, salads and shakes; organic groceries and produce; and health offerings like herbal vitamins and natural skin care products — has lasted so long. It wouldn't have been possible without the support of the community, which has embraced Fairweather Natural Foods since the beginning.
"Just like I'm passionate about natural foods, I think some of my most loyal customers are equally as passionate," she said. "We definitely have such an amazing clientele. It's a really fun thing to share with people that are passionate about it, and it's also a really fun thing to turn people on to what we're doing. And we've had some of the same customers from Day 1 that are still showing up."
Rattray had an expansive background in natural foods even before joining the store. Her first exposure was working after high school in a diner in New Jersey that used organic ingredients. The long days she spent there were when she discovered a passion for clean eating.
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"That inspired me so much," she said. "They made everything from scratch. They made their own bread, they roasted their own turkey. It was a small operation, so I got to see really delicious organic food being prepared with love."
Her interest in natural food and healthy living only grew when she moved to Boulder, Colorado, and then to Santa Cruz, California, two towns that Rattray said were on "the cutting edge of the natural-foods movement." Those places were also where she began learning about holistic healing and herbal remedies. But, she speculates, it would have been hard to start a successful establishment in either town because the markets were already saturated.
When she arrived in Park City, she discovered a town that was not yet flush with natural food stores like Boulder and Santa Cruz. But the area was ripe for one. Many people lived in town because of the healthy lifestyle the surroundings offered, and as the town has grown, so has the population of people who pay close attention to the kind of food they put in their bodies.
"When I moved here, a couple natural food stores had tried to open up but no one had really prospered. I think I brought a lot of my own background and experience into having a health food store in our town. It was a good convergence — it was the right time to open up and be successful and I moved to town right when that happened."
A quarter of a century in, Rattray said Fairweather Natural Foods isn't going anywhere. Because of a devoted following that has helped the store remain viable despite the rise of competition — including Whole Foods at Kimball Junction — she intends to keep the shop operating well into the future.
She said people tell her all the time how sad they'd be if the shop closed its doors, but for now they have no reason to worry.
"I want to see something like this continue to prosper," she said. "I would do anything to support the store growing and thriving."