Ada’s Natural Foods Market: A Beloved Community Icon Has a New Groove OnFeb 28, 2014 10:06AM ● By Linda Sechrist
For more than a decade, Heather and Dan Creighton, the new owners of Ada’s Natural Foods Market, in Fort Myers, and their family have lived in Southwest Florida. A strong supporter of the “buy local eat local” movement, Heather was a regular Ada’s shopper until the store closed its Colonial Avenue doors in 2009.
Frustrated by an unanticipated 45- to 60-minute drive to purchase organic produce for family meals and having to make several stops at different locations to find the natural products she used, Creighton felt the loss of the community icon, which recently relocated to 7070 College Parkway at U.S. 41, next to West Marine. “Today, many individuals and families are making a conscious choice to eat healthy and clean. A percentage of this group does so because of dietary issues that are related to their health. This makes a good local resource a necessity,” says Creighton, who readily admits that she and her husband purchased the store in 2010 for selfish reasons. “We were tired of driving,” she quips.
The Creightons spent many months researching and planning for expanded offerings that would coincide with the reopening of Ada’s. In November 2013, they moved the entire store. “The new location is well-positioned to deliver the convenience and assortment of clean products that were lacking in our area. We now have a local store that provides an array of gluten-free, vegetarian and non-GMO options, which was previously missing in our area,” notes Creighton.
“Continuing to refine and define Ada’s natural market is only one aspect of Creighton’s work. She also spends time, along with her staff, locating the best available products and dealing with local farmers that provide seasonal organic produce, as well as local businesses that make soaps, toothbrushes, fresh salsa, veggie rolls and other edible products. “When we can, we buy local items such as lettuce from a farmer in Estero. The fresh lettuce, still attached to its roots, is still growing in the container when the customer takes it home,” Creighton says.
Creighton has identified the need for convenient, healthy meal solutions. Today, customers can purchase grill-ready items such as marinated or seasoned free-range chicken breasts from the new butcher shop, which sells a wide variety of fresh, grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. The expanded deli case offers market-made, ready-to-eat foods such as kale mango salad, eggplant Parmesan or grilled, wild-caught salmon. There is also a 100 percent organic juice bar, a salad and olive bar and the Green Leaf Café, which offers soups, sandwiches and entrée-style salads, pizzas and sustainable wines by the glass, along with microbrew and craft beers.
Ada’s offers presentations on interesting topics related to a healthy lifestyle, as well as classes on cooking and raw foods. “We have a calendar of events on the website and reach out to the community to find out what people would like to learn,” says Creighton, whose major role before running a natural foods market was one of the world’s most important jobs—a full-time mom to her 8- and 6-year-old sons.
“The store is largely a labor of love for my family, who enjoy the environment and having easy access to the things that promote a healthy lifestyle. I consider that we are fortunate to have a healthy, family-oriented business to work in. You might even see my sons bagging groceries and stocking shelves with rest of our crew. They love helping me,” says Creighton.
For more information, call 239-939-9600 or visit AdasMarket.com.