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7/15/2004

Healthway closes

By Paula Aven Gladych
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Healthway Foods of Longmont is closing its doors after 28 years of serving the community’s vitamin and natural-foods needs.

The store, owned by Steve and Pam Mock, has weathered many storms, but it just could not compete with the Vitamin Cottage that moved in down the street, the Mocks said.

“We were just not doing enough business,” Steve said. “I think we’re turning into a chain-store and a big-box society. That’s where people are spending their money. It’s getting harder and harder for independents to compete.”

Healthway, founded by Steve’s father in Denver in 1965, carries much of the same merchandise that can be found at Wild Oats Markets and Vitamin Cottage.

Steve worked at the Denver location for a few years before he opened his own 6,500-square-foot store in Longmont.

“We got into the business when hippies were the only people that came into health food stores, when it was not the fashionable thing to do,” Steve said. “It’s a much more accepted industry now. Back then, we were just a bunch of health-food nuts.”

The decision to close down after nearly three decades in Longmont was not an easy one. The Mocks spent many “sleepless nights deciding what to do,” he said.

Still, despite the decision to close, the Mocks are still interested in staying connected to the natural-living industry.

Steve plans to get back into the natural-foods industry somehow, and Pam wants to pursue other holistic approaches to living such as reiki therapy and holographic repatterning — a form of self-healing. She’s also thought about going back to school to become a massage therapist.

“We’ll see. It might turn into something,” she said.

Steve said he’d like to stay in the industry since he’s been in it for 32 years.

“I’m sure I’ll stay in the business, either the retail or wholesale end of the business, but working for somebody else,” he said.

Healthway has knocked 25 percent off the price of everything in the store, and the Mocks plan to shut down completely when all of their inventory is gone.

As of Monday, the store’s shelves were still stocked with vitamins, fresh grains, and organic products such as teas, foods, soaps and lotions.

Customers at the store, 2130 N. Main St., said they were sad to see Healthway close down.

“I like the location and the variety of products they carry,” longtime customer Donna Wetzbarger said. “They have great service. It is always a loss when you lose a vendor.”

Another customer said he was stocking up on many items that he can find only at Healthway Foods.

“I came today, and I am going to come again next week,” he said.

He added that his children always liked for him to shop at Healthway because the store has a play area in one corner.

“People are nice here,” he said.

Meg Baker-Arrowsmith has been a customer of Healthway since she moved to Longmont in 1996.

Part of the reason she and her husband moved to the city, she said, was because it had a “good, local independent natural-foods store.”

One of the main items Baker-Arrowsmith used to purchase at the store was produce, but after competition from Vitamin Cottage cut Healthway’s business in half, the Mocks stopped carrying fruits and vegetables because they weren’t selling fast enough, she said.

“I feel like I’m capitalizing on their loss,” she said as she filled her basket with whole grains and other food items, “but they have to clear it out.”

Baker-Arrowsmith said she hoped the closure of another mainstay Longmont business would “make people think harder about (shopping at) big-box shops.”

Said Pam Mock: “It’s hard not to be sorry it’s closing. It’s part of the history of Longmont, and we will miss our friends who come in here. A lot of them are like family. We’ve seen them for 20 years.”

Paula Aven Gladych can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 211, or by e-mail at pavengladych@times-call.com.