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October 11, 2016 - Lakewood, Ohio - Nature’s Bin, the natural foods market in Lakewood that is owned and operated by the nonprofit Cornucopia, is closing its doors after 41 years. The last day for retail sales will be November 12.
Nature’s Bin is operated by Cornucopia to empower people with disabilities through job training and placement. Cornucopia will continue to provide services through its five other training sites in its mission help people with disabilities develop skills and confidence leading to sustainable employment. Nature’s Bin Catering will continue to provide healthy, delicious food for catering customers.
“We are heartbroken to have to make this decision but we know it’s the right thing,” said Cornucopia executive director Nancy Peppler. “Nature’s Bin has provided a nurturing and safe place for people with disabilities to gain meaningful work experience that can lead to permanent jobs in the community. Our vocational training and retail staff have been vital to our mission and we couldn’t have operated this store for 41 years or impacted the lives of thousands of people with disabilities without them.”
“The community’s support over the years through donations to Cornucopia and by shopping at Nature’s Bin is appreciated and has helped to make it possible for people who participated in our training programs to gain valuable tools that prepare them to enter the workforce and lead more productive lives,” Peppler continued. “However, as options for purchasing traditional, natural and organic products have expanded, we have experienced a dramatic decline in sales and we can no longer continue to operate Nature’s Bin.”
Selling organic products is one of the biggest trends in the food retail industry. According to the Organic Trade Association, 93 percent of the business is captured by conventional chains, like WalMart, Costco and Target, and natural foods chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. The remaining seven-percent share includes farmers’ markets, which have more than quadrupled in number since the 1990s, according to the U.S.D.A.; Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs; and food subscription services. Across the country, independent organic retailers like Nature’s Bin are being overwhelmed by the trend they started decades ago.
“This store has been an important part of our community for decades and it is sad news that it is closing,” said Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers. “It is our hope that the City of Lakewood can work with Cornucopia to make some of the healthy foods that you love from Nature’s Bin available through concessions at Lakewood Park. We have an opportunity as a community to seek ways to support Cornucopia and its mission and I would encourage all of us to do that.”
Cornucopia’s employment services and its other job training programs will continue to operate, including programs at the Cornucopia Vocational Training Center and Catering Kitchen in Lakewood, Eliza Jennings Health Campus in Cleveland, Jennings Center for Older Adults in Garfield Heights, T.J. Maxx in Woodmere, and Darice Wholesale Crafts in Strongsville. To support Cornucopia as they help prepare people with disabilities for work and transition them into jobs in the community, you can make donations online at www.cornucopia-inc.org/donate or by mail to Cornucopia, 18228 Sloane Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio 44107.
Cornucopia is a nonprofit that provides community-based employment training and job placement for people with disabilities. Cornucopia serves people with a wide range of disabilities including developmental disabilities, autism, mental illness, visual, speech and hearing impairments, and injuries resulting from accident or illness. Cornucopia has been part of the Lakewood community since 1975.