St. Louis has been inundated by "lifestyle" stores, those big boxes where you can take a class on bleu cheese, purchase yoga accessories, sip wine and listen to live music. What the hell ever happened to the crunchy health-food store, the place you went to buy organic tofu, bulk local honey and megadose vitamins? Sure, you can buy these things at the corporate-values center, but not without swerving to avoid pretentious clowns who shop as if they have never seen food before. The Natural Way still provides an oasis for those of us who want to buy groceries, not a lifestyle package, staffed by people who are invested in the foods and vitamins they offer, folks who know what they are selling you, where it came from and what its purported benefits are. It's a welcome escape from the trendy herd at the Natural Way, the dark store smelling of vitamins and fruit, its dreadlocked cashier discussing the pros and cons of different composting styles with regular customers. They don't have company-sponsored informational workshops, thank God, but the knowledgeable, engaged staff is much, much preferable to the alternative.
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