SPRINGFIELD — Martindale’s Natural Market, thought to be the very first health food store in the nation, is in the midst of a month-long anniversary celebration to mark 150 years of keeping it natural.
The customer-centric celebration will culminate with a Customer Appreciation Day at the store on May 4 that will include a limited amount of free T-shirts and reusable shopping bags, complimentary Kombucha bags to the first 150 customers, as well as a 10 percent discount on mostly everything in the store. Many vendors are also offering additional discount savings on their products to acknowledge the anniversary. The store’s owners will be on site, to personally thank customers for making the store grow into the success that it is today.
As part of the celebration, Martindale’s is also holding a series of fun in-store raffles for multiple gift baskets and gift cards. Customers can enter the free raffle all month long. Some of the vendor-sponsored prizes will be awarded on April 30, with the top prize of a Vitamix and PlusCBD™ Oil gift basket going to a lucky winner on May 4. Customers do not have to be present to win. Vendors that contributed raffle prizes are CV Sciences, Solgar, Charlotte’s Web, Garden of Life and others. The giveaways and Customer Appreciation Day are a way for the store to thank the local community for their patronage throughout these many years.
The health food store sells organic, local, fair trade and ethically sourced and processed natural foods and products. According to store personnel, Martindale’s chooses to positively affect the earth by selling organic, local, fair trade and ethically processed natural foods and products. To support surrounding communities, the store makes a conscious effort to buy products from local farmers and entrepreneurs, and customers seem to appreciate that. For years, customers looked to Martindale’s for their local organic produce and local, grass-fed beef, local eggs and raw milk, as well as cheese from local Lancaster area farmers.
The store’s official mission is “We desire to honor our creator by providing a way to better health, caring for our staff, serving our customers from the heart, supporting the local community, promoting a sustainable environment and being fiscally responsible.” Its company motto is “Customers First,” going the extra mile to provide local customers, as well as out-of-towners, with friendly, personal service.
“We develop and foster personal relationships with our customers,” explained Mark Stayton, co-owner and sales manager. “We offer that extra level of service, more than people are used to these days. Our staff takes time to educate and talk with our customers about the products they are purchasing. When most companies are going less personal with technology, we continue to offer old-fashioned customer service at its best.”
In addition to fresh, certified organic produce, which arrives in the store daily, and other local products like yogurt, honey and coffee, the store also carries an extensive line of vitamins and supplements, refrigerated and frozen foods, body care, beauty products and other unique items, as well as some prepared foods like salads and sandwiches. The store’s inventory is competitively priced.
“We can sell many products for less than people can find them on the internet,” stated Debbie Formica, marketing director at Martindale’s Natural Market. “Because we are a brick and mortar store, we don’t have to adhere to MAP pricing like internet companies do, so we can often offer products more reasonably priced.”
Formica said that Martindale’s Natural Market has another edge over its internet competitors.
“What’s nice about coming into the store to browse is that customers can view our extensive line of unique products, hold the in their hands to read the labels and ask questions to our knowledgeable team here,” Formica said. "Customers can shop with no pressure to buy. Our staff is here to help them feel confident before they purchase anything."
Further coupons and offers can always be found in the Martindale’s flier and newsletter which customers can sign up on the company’s website to receive. Seniors over 60 get a 10 percent discount on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also, some products purchased by the case are also entitled to a 10 percent case discount. Martindale’s will also special order products for their customers if the store doesn't carry it in stock.
“We love when someone who has never been in a health food store comes in,” Stayton added. “We pride ourselves in helping them get started on a healthy track and we hold their hand as they begin their journey to better eating, better health.”
Stayton said Martindale’s has always been ahead of the curb in trends and dietary needs. The store's skilled team members will help customers who have intolerances or allergies to nuts, gluten, eggs, dairy, tree nuts and other items to find alternative products. When asked what today’s hottest products at the store are, Formica answered that CBD products, as well as turmeric and probiotics, are currently popular.
Dale Reece, Martindale's co-owner and CFO, attributes Martindale’s longevity and steady growth in sales to the store’s superior service and cutting edge products.
“Our customers benefit from the expertise from our staff members who have been trained in good eating habits and dietary supplements,” Reece said. “Just as important, our customers count on regularly enjoying the rapport that the staff establishes with them when they come to the store. Our customers often comment how much they love shopping at our store, and how well our staff members treat them. Customers also enjoy the excellent new products our department heads bring to the store that help to keep us at the cutting edge of the vanguard of quality and effective products.”
Established in 1869 by Thomas Martindale as a food store in Oil City, Pa., the business relocated to Center City Philadelphia in 1876 for the Centennial. His son, Thomas C. Martindale, joined the store at the turn of the century, experimenting with the effect of different diets on his health, and eventually importing dietetic foods from England for upper-class clientele.
By the 1930s, Martindale’s had a thriving health food section with a popular juice bar. In addition, Thomas C. Martindale conducted a weekly radio broadcast on good health and health issues. At this time, his two nephews, Bill and Jim, joined Martindale’s and carried the business forward after their uncle’s death. In 1971, the store relocated to Springfield, being the very first store to take residence in the Olde Sproul Shopping Village, where it currently resides and thrives.
In 1991, the Martindale brothers retired and the store changed ownership. Today, owners include Dale Reece, CFO, Joan Petrillo, store manager, Mark Stayton, sales manager and Steve Ayers, recently retired.
Since 1991, the store has expanded every eight years, from 1,500 square feet to its present 5,150 square feet. Future plans for the 150-year-old business are already in the making. The store currently employs about 30 team members.
Says Reece, “As we look ahead to the future, we’re exploring expansion opportunities to give our customers even more top-notch products and caring service in the coming years. For example, we’re looking to offer our own grab n’go foods in the coming year, and looking forward to much more in the next 150 years!”
TO GO: Store hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; and closed Sunday. For more information on Martindale’s Natural Market, 1172 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, visit www.martindalesnutrition.com, follow Martindales Natural on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, or call 610-543-6811 or 866-884-8582.