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By Tyler Flynn
A fixture of Bedford Main Street is planning to add a green section to its variety of offered services.
The Bedford Country Store LLC, located at 115 North Bridge St., will soon open an organic whole foods market as part of an initiative to offer affordable, all natural sustenance to the Bedford community.
Housing over 30 vendors, the Bedford Country Store stands by its slogan of offering “everything you need under one roof” — the location boasts a myriad of products, including antiques, hand-crafted jewelry, quilts, decorative signs, books and skateboard accessories, as well as a deli, bakery and cafe.
Originally opened in Sept. 2010, the business has been run solely by Rachael Ellis and her husband Bob since last July. The store began as an offshoot of Rachael Ellis’s first business, Patty Cakes, where she creates custom-shaped cakes, which was initially based out of her home.
The Ellises, who have been Bedford residents for five years, came up with the idea for the newest addition to the Bedford Country Store as a result of the changes they made in their own eating habits.
Bob, who has difficulty processing sugar and suffered from high blood pressure at the time, was instructed by his doctor that he needed to begin eating better. Rachael, in a move to support her husband’s new dietary regimen, decided their entire family would transition to eating completely organic food. Since the couple instituted the change, their family has reaped benefits — they have all experienced weight loss and Bob’s blood pressure level has dropped. Additionally, two of four Ellis children, who have special needs, no longer require their medication.
Rachael was inspired to start offering her own organic whole foods in the Bedford Country Store after frequenting the organic produce sections of other stores outside of Bedford.
“I wanted to share what I had learned about healthy living with others. I saw a need [for a whole foods market] because you can’t buy fresh organic produce anywhere local. This is something Bedford needs,” Rachael said.
The whole foods market, which will be housed on the store’s lower level, will feature a variety of products, including whole flour, grass-feed beef, organic eggs, Homestead milk and naturally-grown produce from local farmers and organic distributors. Rachael, motivated by her daughter’s sweet tooth, hopes to eventually make all natural candy as well.
“[The market will be] a place to browse different organic foods, learn where they come from, and feel good about what you’re buying,” Bob said.
Using the knowledge he gained from 15 years of working in construction, Bob, along with two of his daughter’s friends, 15-year-olds Jamal and Jordan Parks, is currently in the process of renovating the store’s downstairs floor in preparation for the market; the new addition is set to open this month.
The couple, who have been married for nine years, expressed that although the work has been difficult, they love running the Bedford Country Store and are hopeful about the organic market.
“You work harder being in business for yourself than being employed by anyone else — [we’re here] seven days a week for 12 hours a day,” Bob said. “It’s totally worth it though.”
The organic market also coincides with the Ellises second passion: revitalizing the downtown area of Bedford. Rachael serves on the Bedford Main Street board, a position she has held for six months, and is also a member of the Promotions Board and the Merchant Committee. She has helped coordinate several events in Bedford, including Centerfest and Cruise-In.
“I’m all about supporting [the local economy] — after all, we’re a part of it,” Rachael said.
As part of this initiative, Rachael has offered space in the organic market for any Bedford individuals who want to feature their homemade items.
“We’d like to see people travel here to come visit Main street attractions. There’s no reason that downtown Bedford can’t thrive — there’s something here for everyone. Our focus [with the whole foods market] is greater than ourselves,” Rachel said.
For more information about the Bedford Country Store or the organic food market, visit bedfordcountrystore.com or call (540)586-2222.