Earth Goods Natural Foods, in the beautiful southern Black Hills, was opened in August of 1996 in Hot Springs, South Dakota. In this traditional town of retirees, ranchers and families, owners Jackie and Rich Gericke, who had relocated to the area the previous year, were suffering from the lack of a health food store. The two grocery stores, in the town of approximately 4300 people, worked well for most folks but lacked the more specialized foods and organic produce found in natural foods stores and furthermore there was no outlet for quality supplements. The only other health food store was over an hour away. Recognizing the need and realizing that the area was growing, they decided to follow a long-held dream and open their own store.
They first opened on a busy Main Street corner in a rented 600 sq. ft. space. On a shoestring budget, they did all of their own remodeling and bought all second hand fixtures, including a cooler and freezer. They saved as much as possible for merchandise as they felt strongly that from the moment they opened the doors, the store should be fully stocked. After about a year in that location, they purchased a charming old building with original oak floors and tin ceiling. Again Rich did the extensive renovation and with the help of many friends they moved the store in one weekend. The new location is about twice the size, and although it is not in as prominent a location as before, this has not been a significant factor. They now have much better parking and are easy to locate.
Rich and Jackie also feel that their success is due to their commitment to carrying only the highest quality products possible and in being a source for continued learning. They offer occasional seminars and sampling, a variety of free, printed third party literature, and will often help customers do research both in their extensive library and also on the Internet. They also offer, every Thursday, an organic produce box that always contains the absolute freshest and highest quality organic produce at unbelievable prices – call for more details!
Believers in the power of medicinal herbs, Jackie & Rich steer customers to the appropriate remedy from their well-stocked supplement section, based on their clients general needs and ailments. Jackie’s “herb walks” are a service unique to Earth Goods and well-known and enjoyed by patrons. The herb walks are held outside, adjacent to the store, in vacant lots and along the Fall River. They are especially appreciated by the inquisitive person who wants to know more about natural remedies and how to identify and prepare them – a unique educational service that gives customers a bit more background on their favorite supplements or teas that they purchase regularly.
Both Rich and Jackie have backgrounds compatible to the industry. Jackie has studied herbal medicine for over 20 years, and Rich grew up on an organic farm. Both of their parents have owned and operated their own successful businesses, so retailing has always been part of their lives. They both consider themselves eager students of life and have many plans for future growth, both personally and professionally.
There are healing powers and naturally occurring medicines found in the plants that we often consider weeds - take the dandelion for example. It can be helpful in liver, gallbladder and kidney disorders. The whole plant can be used for different purposes. The roots help to purify the blood and improve digestion - yet so many people just think of it as a weed.
Monday - Friday:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Closed through the winter but
Variable through the year.