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Salt Lake City residents have a new source for organic produce, meats, breads and other foods with the opening this week of Natural Grocers.

The 15,000-square-foot store is at 645 E. 400 South, in the space once occupied by its main competitor, Whole Foods. Sprouts, a third organic-natural food chain, is a few blocks to the north.

The store's grand opening is Tuesday. (See box for details.)

The signature offering at all Natural Grocers is an all-organic produce section. The aisles also contain many organic and natural food items from flours and nuts to seeds and spices as well as sodas, teas, coffees, crackers, frozen foods and many gluten-free items. There also are about a dozen Utah-made products, with more planned in the future.

"Not every product is organic," said marketing manager Jeremy Jones, "but all products must meet our strict standards that include no added hormones, no preservatives and no artificial colorings."

The Salt Lake City store is the third Natural Grocers in Utah, with other stores in St. George and Logan. A fourth store will open Nov. 17 in Bountiful and a fifth is planned in Sugar House in 2016, said Jones.

Natural Grocers started 60 years ago as a vitamin company, so all stores — including No. 104 in Salt Lake City — have robust vitamin sections. Every store also has a nutrition health coach on staff to help customers looking for natural remedies to their aches and pains, Jones said.

Margaret and Philip Isley founded the company, called Vitamin Cottage, in 1955 and were considered pioneers in the natural food industry. In 2008, the company adopted the name Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage to better depict its expansion into food and groceries, Jones said.

The company, while publicly traded on the New York Stock exchanges, is still 57 percent owned and operated by Isley family members.

The Isley's were ahead of their time as sales of organic products have seen double-digit growth every year since the 1990s. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic sales increased from $3.6 billion in 1997 to more than $39 billion in 2014.

And according to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 84 percent of American consumers buy organic food. —

Natural Grocers Grand Opening

Natural Grocers will host a grand opening at its Salt Lake City store.

When • Tuesday; live music 7:30-10:30 a.m.; ribbon cutting 7:55 a.m. Store opens 8 a.m. Food tastings, cooking demonstration and other activities noon to 4 p.m.

Where • 645 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City.

Details • The first 60 customers in line after the 8 a.m. opening will get gift cards worth between $5 and $100.