Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers

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Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
FormerlyVitamin Cottage Natural Grocers
Russell 2000 Index component
  • 1955; 68 years ago (1955)
HeadquartersLakewood, Colorado, U.S.
Areas served
United States

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc (NYSENGVC) (formally called Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets and commonly referred to as Vitamin Cottage or Natural Grocers) is a Colorado-based health food chain.

The business was founded in 1955 as a door-to-door sales operation by Margaret and Philip Isely. They opened the first Vitamin Cottage store in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1963. After Margaret Isely's death in 1997, the Iselys' children took over the business the following year. Beginning in 2008, the company name was phased to Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage to emphasize that groceries, rather than nutritional supplements, formed a majority of its sales.[1] The company made its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2012, raising $107 million.[2]

Its products include vitamins, dietary supplements, natural and organic food, organic produce and natural body care products.[3][4] The company has a manifesto entitled "What We Won't Sell and Why", which includes artificial colors and flavors, artificial preservatives, irradiated food and meat raised using artificial hormones and antibiotics, among others.[5][6]

In 2008, the company operated around 162 retail grocery stores in around 20 states, mainly west of the Mississippi River,[7] and had approximately 3,000 employees.[8]


In 1955, Margaret and Philip Isely founded a door-to-door sales operation called The Builder's Foundation.[9][10] The first store opened in 1958 in Denver, Colorado.[10] The inspiration for the business came after the birth of their second child. Margaret became ill and found "conventional medicine" to be unhelpful to her. She treated herself using principles in Adelle Davis's controversial book Let's Get Well.[11]

In the 1960s, the Iselys converted a cottage-style house into a store, inspiring the name Vitamin Cottage. The store opened in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1963.[9][10] In 1974, the second Vitamin Cottage location opened in Denver.[10]

Natural Grocers founded a cycling team in 1987.[10][12]

In 1995, the company name was briefly changed to Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Emporium.[10]

Margaret Isely died in 1997, and the Iselys' children took over the business the following year.[13]

In the 2010s, Natural Grocers stopped selling what they call "confinement dairy products," which includes milk from cows that aren't allowed to graze. Consequently, the company pulled Noosa from their stores.[14]


  1. ^ Joyzelle Davis (March 14, 2008). "Vitamin Cottage stressing food in chain's new name". Rocky Mountain News – via NewsBank.
  2. ^ Michelle Zayed (July 25, 2012). "Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage filed a successful public offering". Denver Post. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  3. ^ "Coconut milk? Almond? Soy? How alternatives stack up". USA Today. Feb 22, 2015. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  4. ^ "Natural Grocers stores planned in Denver area". USA Today. May 27, 2015. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  5. ^ Tom Lotshaw (April 21, 2013). "Natural Grocers to open". Daily Inter Lake. Kalispell, MT. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  6. ^ "What We Won't Sell and Why". Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  7. ^ "An Upscale Bounty, and a Thankful Shopper". USA Today. November 22, 2013. Retrieved 2019-09-29.
  8. ^ Davis, Joyzelle (2008-03-14). "Vitamin Cottage stressing food in new name". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  9. ^ a b Mark Antonation (April 17, 2015). "Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers celebrates sixty years next week". Westword. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "67 Things You Didn't Know About Natural Grocers". Natural Grocers. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  11. ^ "Our Story". Natural Grocers. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  12. ^ "Rid with Us". Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  13. ^ Lindsay Blakely (April 2015). "How this family-run organic grocer is taking on Whole Foods". Inc. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  14. ^ Blakely, Lindsay (April 2015). "How This Family-Run Organic Grocer Is Taking on Whole Foods". Inc. Retrieved July 5, 2023.

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