Good Earth: Indy's Oldest Natural Foods (and More!) Store
Feb 28, 2011 03:00AM
By Kristin DeMint
If you’re looking for an alternative to big-box health-food stores, Good Earth in Broad Ripple just might become your newest infatuation. Nestled behind a picket fence just north of the rainbow bridge on Guilford Avenue, the shop offers over 25,000 individual products in its smallish abode, including organic, fresh produce; high-quality nutritional supplements; fresh herbs, flours, laundry or dish soap, and teas sold in bulk; earth-friendly cosmetics and footwear; and the greatest loose tea infuser kettles you can find. And these are just a handful of the major items that they carry.
Good Earth also has a bona fide commitment to the local economy. “In every section of the store,” says Rudy Nehrling, president and acting owner of Good Earth, “whether it’s cosmetics, foods, etc., we try to have a local representation.” One example is their two lines of locally made kombucha, a fermented tea that with raw bacteria and yeast cultures with myriad probiotic benefits. And though the tea is a tad more expensive than the GT’s brand available in big-box stores, Nehrling vouches that its quality is superior.
“For years,” he says, “we were the number one retailer for GT’s Kombucha in the whole Midwest. When the product was recalled due to elevated alcohol contents as a result of sitting on store shelves too long (which wasn’t an issue for us because we were moving it so quickly), we introduced the two new lines of kombucha that are locally produced [therefore, fresher].”
Freshness of foodstuffs and supplements are among the most appealing reasons to shop Good Earth. For example, herbs and spices, located on the second floor, are delivered fresh weekly and in bulk. They also sell bulk honey, which is local and fresh and, in the summers, raw. And if you bring in a clean jar, they will fill it with the bulk product of your choice, including flours, grains, rices, and beans.
The produce that Good Earth sells is 100-percent organic. “In the summer,” Nehrling says, “we work with an Amish family from the community, and we try to get as much of our produce as possible—as well as three different lines of eggs—fresh from that family.
Much of the produce during the summer months is straight from the farm, cut that morning, and in the store that afternoon.”
Also worth noting is the knowledge the Good Earth folks have. “The first things we’re going to look for,” explains Nehrling, “are the highest quality ingredients, the reputation of the company, and customer satisfaction. We look for very clean ingredients—no binders, no fillers, no misrepresentation of what is in the product. Sure, you can buy fish oil at Walmart, but it’ll have petrochemicals in it. [Our products are] a difference of quality.”
In sum, here are a few other advantages of shopping at Good Earth: They carry entire lines of products (which is helpful, for example, if you like a particular line of tea), and they stock hard-to-find items. Additionally, if you see something you like somewhere else, they will special order it for you. On top of the automatic discounts from 10 to 20 percent, they have frequent shopper cards and additional discounts for bulk or case purchases. “We try to stay competitive,” says Nehrling. “We can ship our products anywhere in the United States or Canada for the exact cost of the shipping, and all shoes ship free.”