Nature’s Pantry in the news
NEW WINDSOR — Attention, people suffering from various food sensitivities, including gluten or lactose intolerance. Your mecca, Nature’s Pantry on Route 17K in Newburgh, is moving and tripling in size.
The specialty market, which also offers a bounty of organic and natural foods, plans to relocate in August from Newburgh to the New Windsor Commons on Route 94 in New Windsor. The recently revamped strip mall is better known as the former home of Upskate, a roller rink.
The new 15,000-square-foot store will offer shoppers an expanded produce selection, at least twice as much frozen food, a deli counter and seating, said owner Richard Masterson. There will be more dairy products and dry grocery items, like crackers and noodles, too.
“Business has grown over the past five years,” Masterson said. “We certainly need more space, because the variety of products has increased over the years.”
When Masterson bought Nature’s Pantry in the late 1980s, then just a small shop in Wappingers Falls, he found that most of his customers were lactose-intolerant. About one-third of the ‘dairy’ products at his stores now are lactose-free — like soy yogurt and soy cheese. Since then, he’s seen food sensitivities change dramatically.
“We have more gluten-free customers now,” he said.
A large section of the new store will feature products manufactured by companies that only make gluten-free food. The section doesn’t include naturally gluten-free food like rice, or gluten-free products made by conventional brands, like Amy’s Kitchen, Masterson said.
Space in the 5,400-square-foot Newburgh store had been tight for awhile. In 2007, Masterson opened a 14,000-square-foot store in Fishkill, which will serve as the model for the New Windsor shop.
He has been planning the move for the past two years, and had a Realtor scout out suitable locations.
The New Windsor location, which was once a supermarket, worked because it has a stop light at the entrance and more than ample parking. Getting in and out of the Newburgh shop is problematic, and the parking lot is small.
Before picking a new location, store employees asked customers for their ZIP codes. Masterson knew he had a big base of customers — mainly those with food allergies — who traveled from 30 miles away or more.
But, 70 percent of his customers came from a 15-mile radius of the store, with many concentrated in the Newburgh, New Windsor and Walden areas, Masterson said.
It was another reason to move to New Windsor — even if the new shop is on a quiet stretch of Route 94 off the beaten path for retail development. The strip mall, nearly vacant since Upskate closed, is also within a mile of two relatively new supermarkets with large natural-food selections, Hannaford and ShopRite.
Nature’s Pantry has a different variety of products, Masterson said. He works with a number of small food manufacturers and also sells locally sourced products.
“If we do our job right, we’ll have no difficulties,” Masterson said.
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