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The Better Health Market & Cafe

Briefly Noted: May 2018

by Sabine Bickford

From the May, 2018 issue

The Better Health vitamin and supplement store has a new location and a new name. Formerly tucked in the Lamp Post Plaza, it moved to Washtenaw Commons in April, tripled in size, and became Better Health Market & Cafe. The new location adds fruits and veggies, a bulk section for grains and nuts, house-made baked goods, a salad bar and hot food bar, a kombucha bar, and a cafe where customers can order drinks and sandwiches.

Better Health vice president Mary Vandewiele says that the Novi-based chain is converting most of its smaller stores into markets; currently, nine of its fourteen locations carry fresh produce.

Though there's another health-focused grocery down the street, Better Health isn't too worried about competing with the Washtenaw Ave. Whole Foods. Although "there's definitely a crossover in product," says Vandewiele, she says stores like Whole Foods and Plum Market "tend to also be more geared towards the gourmet," while Better Health has a focus on "health and information," for instance by offering dietitian-led nutrition classes. The company also maintains a "No-No List" of seventy-eight ingredients it shuns, such as partially hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. "You don't have to read the label, because we've done the work for you," Vandewiele says.

Even after tripling in size, the store has just over 9,000 square feet, a fraction of the 50,000-square-foot Whole Foods. Vandewiele says Better Health has found that many people "appreciate the ease of a smaller footprint store."

Vandewiele emphasizes that there is no one target demographic for the store beyond those "interested in health!" She recommends first-time customers try their number one bestseller: a "dynamite Paleo chocolate chip cookie." Made with almond flour, coconut oil, honey, and vegan chocolate chips; it may not be prehistoric, but it is gluten free.

Better Health Market & Cafe, 975-6613. 3500 Washtenaw (Washtenaw Commons). Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.    (end of article)


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