This week, the newest Native Sun Natural Foods Market, a Jax-based grocery store focusing on organic and natural products, opens its third location in Jacksonville Beach.
"When you look at the way the beach is designed, we found there weren’t any grocery stores on Third Street," says Native Sun owner Aaron Gottlieb. "Grocery to me is a very community-based business. In the old days you, knew your grocer and trusted him. We thought this is the area of town that would most appreciate it."
The store is designed for grab-and-go with Beaches customers in mind. "The beach told us that they were worried if our space was smaller they wouldn’t get full-service grocery or full-service deli," Gottlieb says. "We also knew they kept asking us to open a restaurant at the beach so we expanded our deli selection."
There's a dedicated door for the 60-seat deli, a new addition for a Native Sun store. A selection of breakfast items like sausage biscuits—this store is open at 8 AM for the commuting crowd—has been created. The rotating hot bar has been expanded and items you'd previously have to order and wait for, like salads or sandwiches, are now prepared and waiting in small and large sizes. Other new food offerings include shrimp tacos, a kids' menu, a cajun po' boy, a tuna melt,
and an "adult version of a grilled cheese sandwich" with coleslaw, mustard and several types of cheese—Gottlieb's childhood favorite.
Up and down the aisles, there's not much different from the Mandarin and Baymeadows locations. The same organic, non-GMO items are found here, along with a few items Gottlieb thought beachgoers could use: recycled plastic forks and knives, biodegradable cups and plates and spring water ice for picnics, all-natural bug sprays, sunscreens and after-sun lotions.
"The beach is aligned with the lifestyle that a natural food store can give to the community. They’re already outdoors more, riding a beach cruiser on the beach or playing water sports," he says. "It’s really about keeping your mind stress-free and calm, which is why people come to the beach—to de-stress."
The store's grand opening at 1585 3rd Street North takes place on September 19. The festivities will begin at 10 AM with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local business owners, city officials, and representatives from the Jacksonville Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Following the ribbon-cutting, the first 250 customers to enter the store will receive a Native Sun bag filled with $50 worth of best-selling natural and organic groceries. Shoppers will also have a chance to win one of twenty $100 Native Sun gift cards through in-store giveaways held during the event.
Click below to see more photos of the new store: