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April 19, 2012

Healthy Living Responds to Encroaching Trader Joe's

Food-healthylivingSeven Days reported earlier this week that Healthy Living Market and Café's landlord, Malone Properties, is in talks with Trader Joe's to open a branch of the California-based chain right next door to the South Burlington store. At the time, we were unable to reach Healthy Living owner, Katy Lesser, for comment. This morning she responded to Malone Properties owner Patrick Malone's assertion that she was excited about the new neighbor.

Though Lesser says she won't be making any shopping trips just north of her own business, she's not losing sleep over the possibility of a Trader Joe's next door.

For one, the chain, known for its "Two Buck Chuck" Charles Shaw wine label and sometimes exotic frozen foods, will not be carrying the locally farmed meats, veggies and cheeses for which Healthy Living is known. "We really try to focus on organic here," explains Lesser. "The quality of product in places like our bulk department will not be the same at Trader Joe’s... We focus so much on fresh —Trader Joe’s does a great job, but they don’t do a lot of fresh."

Lesser also notes that her store's health and beauty department and prepared foods are specialties the big business will not be able to replicate.

Devoted Healthy Living customers can stop worrying, says Lesser. She's not concerned. "The natural order of business is competition," she says. "I’m into the game and I'm happy."

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