In a letter released today, Aug. 6, Native Sun Natural Foods Markets Owner and Founder Aaron Gottlieb announced the closing of the three Jacksonville, Florida, stores.
In the letter, which follows, Gottlieb explains his decision:
“Due to the dramatic increase in the number of grocery stores in the Jacksonville area (nine new specialty grocers alone since 2015), Native Sun Natural Foods Markets will be closing our doors. I started the company with my wife Erica to bring organic foods to the Jacksonville community. It is exciting to see that clean food, free of GMO’s and harmful chemicals, is now accessible at traditional grocery stores as well as big box stores, gas stations, airports; almost anywhere you shop.
“The times are changing. Technology is changing. Communication is changing. Most of all, how people shop is changing. We are all blessed and cursed with what these changes bring.
“In the beginning, we were about giving access to clean food, wellness products, and most of all—education. We have been blessed to see people free themselves of medication, be cured of cancer, free themselves from pain and fight MS. We created a reliable process to help many food allergy sufferers have access to safe foods. Native Sun is proud to have played such a large role in their health journey.
“Native Sun’s team had a hand in cleaning up the food you can now buy on all grocery shelves. We worked closely with manufacturers to challenge their ingredient integrity and had a direct hand in helping to ensure that not just Jacksonville, but everyone, had access to brands that met their ingredient expectations. We have also helped support the local community by being part of many local food companies’ launch and growth.
“Our mission was to “Improve people’s lives with the products we carry and the foods we create.” I believe we worked hard to do this every day. We had a lot of successes in this area. I am going to miss this part of what I do. But as I said, “the times are changing.” Jacksonville has grocery stores “sprouting” up like weeds; crowding each other as well as the local flora. We are sad to say that we didn’t have a deep enough well to keep us going.
“We’re proud to have been your local grocer for 23 years. I deeply believe the local independent business is the heart of the community. I am hopeful that our community will be blessed with another local organic grocer in our future. As all things great come back again.
“Thank you for a real good time,
“Aaron Gottlieb, owner/founder, Native Sun Natural Foods Markets”