Roots Market in Cedar Falls closing
Photo: (DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photographer) Krystal Hamilton Case, front, of Cedar Falls, looks at the gluten-free bread selection while her daughter Phoenix Hamilton, 5, back, looks on at Roots Market in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Hamilton-Case recently returned to the Cedar Valley, and said she had been looking forward to doing her shopping at Roots, and was disappointed to learn that the market would be closing after nine years of business.
By JIM OFFNER
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — An established organic foods market in Cedar Falls has run its natural course and is closing, owners say.
Roots Market, which Rob Pruitt operated at 2021 Main St. for more than nine years, will close for good by the middle of next month, Pruitt said Wednesday.
The store served its intended purpose, Pruitt said.
Pruitt, a Kansas City, Kan., native, had moved to Cedar Falls and saw a need for natural food store. “I’ve lived in many places where there was one.”
Roots already existed under a different ownership as more of a “small health food store” but “was about to go under,” Pruitt said.
He said he didn’t want to see that happen, so he bought the business.
“I had the idea of changing what started as a kind of small health food store to a natural foods grocery store, where somebody could do all their shopping,” he said.
He also believed strongly in the idea of carrying locally grown items, he said, adding that Roots has purchased more than $1 million in merchandise from local producers and supported the the launch of the Grassroots Cafe, a nutrition-focused school lunch program.
The store, which Pruitt said employed more than 40 people over the years, attracted a clientele of 100 or more regular shoppers, he said.
The response convinced him he was right to open the store, he said.
The problem was, others noticed, and competition popped up, he said. “You can find Hy-Vees with great big health market sections now,” he said.
There were still as many customers coming into the store, Pruitt said.
“There’s a downward trend in our sales,” he said. “It’s not that our traffic has gone down; it’s that our average ticket price has gone down.”
Pruitt and his wife of nearly one year, Jessica, decided last weekend it was time to close.
“I wish we didn’t have to,” said Jessica Pruitt, a Minnesota native who met her husband after she had moved to Cedar Falls and started shopping at the store. “To me, it’s important to have somewhere I’d buy my groceries.”
Rob Pruitt said it has been a good experience.
“I’ve been really pleased to be here in the store; I’ve met some wonderful people,” he said. “It’s sad to move on, but I’m also ready to do something new.”
No firm closing date, other than the middle of next month, has been set, he added. The plan is to sell out the inventory before closing.
The store has modified its hours for the remainder of its operation, to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Source: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier