Rebecca’s community involvement and commitment is unwavering and widespread. We aim to help like-minded schools, churches, co-ops, public agencies, nonprofits, and civic groups in their fundraising efforts through various donations and sponsorships. We involve ourselves in local endeavors focused on health and environmental consciousness including the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival, the Earth Week Eco Fair, and the Locavore Expo. Several of our employees formed Team Rebecca’s to participate in the Mud Warrior race benefiting our local Hope Community Center. We help sponsor the up-and-coming Common Ground Healing Arts center– a local nonprofit wellness center committed to empowering our community to live a healthy lifestyle; their unique way of providing services makes wellness available to all members of our community, regardless of ability to pay.
Our business serves our community in other ways as well. We have always had a role in helping other small, local startup businesses break into retail. Charlottesville is full of creative, talented individuals with interesting, high-quality product ideas. People regularly come to us with items that they would like to sell, and when those products meet our quality standards, we are happy to offer a venue to give them exposure. Over the years, we have helped countless local small companies launch their products and it makes us feel good to watch them grow. For example, Bake ‘MMM Bagels are now carried through a large distributor and can be found in stores across the northeast, but they started with us. Rebecca’s was also instrumental in the success of RelayFoods.com — we were the first vendor to sign on with them (originally they were called Retail Relay), giving credence to their vision and helping them attract their first customers and other vendors because of our excellent reputation.
“What we do with our days is, of course, what we do with our lives.” — Annie Dillard
Rebecca’s Natural Food is over 25 years old. That’s more than 9,000 days that the hundreds of people who have been part of our work family have shared in the community while making a positive impact both here and in the world. They have had the discussions with customers about their health and diet needs, done the learning and research, helped change lifestyle habits, acted as living examples good of health, and discovered new products.
Over these days, we have made countless decisions about the best products we can carry. Years ago we added chocolate and wine, which we used to think had no place in a natural food store. We’ve stopped selling many products which seemed to have good ingredient lists but were over processed, or not made by a trusted source, or weren’t up to our standards in some other way. The nutritional supplements we carry are continually refined and expanded so that we are confident they are the most effective and safe.
We have always been committed to sourcing products that are fair trade, organic, local, minimally processed, or possess countless other attributes that our customers want and that we value. We can’t always have “perfect” supplements and food, but we try to have the best balance of qualities at a reasonable price. We believe our customers appreciate that what they see at Rebecca’s today is the refinement of countless choices we’ve made in days past, in collaboration with them. We want our customers to feel confident that our care, research, and selection will continue well into the future.
At Rebecca’s Natural Food, we follow some simple guidelines when selecting items that stock our supplement shelves.
Products we offer are:
- Safe and have minimal or no side effects
- Made with pure ingredients
- Sourced locally, when possible
We are always available to answer questions, provide thoughtful and informed advice, and to guide you in developing your personalized supplement support plan.
Our most recent store renovation (in June 2007) was tailored specifically to environmentally friendly choices floor to ceiling. The floor is Marmoleum tile made from natural and renewable materials — linseed oil, pine tree resins, wood flour, jute, limestone, and cork flour. We used solid wood; the mahogany and maple are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. This is wood that has been tracked in a “chain of custody” from growth to harvesting to sale. This ensures that the management of forests, harvesting of trees, and regrowth all meet the environmental standards set forth by the FSC. The decorative resin panels used in the stations are made from 40 percent post-industrial recycled material. The production process produces no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other harmful gases. A portion of production energy is wind powered. All panels are Greenguard Certified. A program of social empowerment employs indigenous people around the world, paying a fair wage to gather some of the organic materials incorporated into the panels. All paints used are either no-VOC or low-VOC. We switched to T-5 fluorescent lighting, generating a huge energy savings over the previous incandescent lights. Our wood finishes applied to the solid wood are non-toxic and water-based or pure linseed oil.
All laminates (Formica brand) used in the store carry the Greenguard Certification. Solid countertops are natural soapstone that have been sanded and finished with non-toxic natural oil and beeswax.
In keeping with our emphasis on supporting other local small businesses, we were fortunate to have Fred Dodson of Blue River Woodworking do most of the design, contracting, and building for our renovation.
Rebecca’s Natural Food founder and owner Norman Dill worked at his first health food store in 1976, Charlottesville’s old Blue Mountain Trading Company. In 1977, he returned to his hometown in upstate NY and opened Earthlight Food. After finishing school, Norman moved back to Charlottesville in 1985. In 1987, Norman opened Rebecca’s Natural Food, named after his daughter. Norman says his mother was his original inspiration for eating well, getting the family to eat more good food choices (and not allowing junk food in the house!).