Healthy Convenience at Wynn’s: The Iconic Naples Market Offers Organic, Gluten-Free Choices
Jan 31, 2011 11:32AM
● By Lee Walker
Jacquie Roecker, Wynn’s Market organic food specialist, knew it was time to leave her New Jersey home and job behind for a warmer climate when she observed the squirrels in her backyard gathering a winter stash of green pine cones. “I’d never seen squirrels bulked up that early for winter, and definitely not on green pine cones, so my intuition told me that it was time to leave,” says Roecker, who adds that three weeks after she packed her belongings and headed for Florida, the first snowstorm of the season dumped two feet of frozen, white flakes on her former home.
Observation and intuition are two of Roecker’s most valuable assets in her job, which she uses daily to ensure that a good selection of organic options is always on the shelves at Wynn’s, a Naples icon for 73 years. For instance, when she noticed that many customers find Wynn’s a convenient stop on their way to the beach, Roecker made sure that popular brands of natural sunscreens, without preservatives such as parabens or other additives, were not only on the shelves, but also highly visible for a quick purchase. “We don’t want customers wasting the sunshine looking for anything,” laughs Roecker, who also added grab-and-go beach snacks such as healthy trail mixes.
After observing that downtown Naples’ seasonal customers and visitors ride in on bicycles and Vespas with baskets, Roecker responded with additions to the frozen prepared foods section. “People who come here from all over the world to vacation appreciate healthy, gluten-free frozen dinners that are easy to prepare and lower in calories, and vegans particularly like the selection in the Garden Delights brand,” advises Roecker, who takes great satisfaction in putting a smile on a customer’s face.
“Last week, a gentleman who had heard about our gluten-free section came in to see what he could find for his daughter who was visiting,” she recalls. “The man was at his wits’ end in his search through local stores for things his daughter could eat. Not only was he overjoyed by all his options here, he left with a bag of groceries and a big smile.”
Initially, Roecker spent her days closely studying the inventory to determine what products weren’t selling and what was missing. Today, she devotes most of her time to reading labels and tweaking the mix of products so that Wynn’s offers the best items available for a wide range of customers accustomed to extensive choices.
“Whether it’s advertised as organic, low-sugar, sugar-free or gluten-free, I read the labels, because we realize that people don’t want to waste their time doing that in the grocery aisle,” notes Roecker, who recently observed an increased interest in unhybridized grains and responded by adding red, black and sprouted quinoa, as well an another “ancient” grain known as farro. “In my experience, people who are intolerant of wheat products tend to do better when they eat unhybridized grains,” she says.
A Southwest Florida resident for only a year, Roecker appreciates that she can pursue her pastimes of hiking and nature photography year-round. “I’m still adjusting, but I’m sure glad I’m here, especially at this time of the year,” she grins.
Wynn’s Market, 144 Ninth St. N., Naples 34102. Call 239-261-7156 or visit WynnsOnline.com.