Retailer Story: Peg Lockman of Nature's Pantry
Slow Food...From Our Pantry To Yours
By: Marsha Bonecutter If you are looking for a magic, expensive pill that will instantly cure all your ills, you will not find it at Nature’s Pantry in Rockton, Illinois. If you are looking for a path to good health, Peg Lockman, owner of Nature’s Pantry, an organic grocery, will offer you a way of life achieved by utilizing what is provided in nature, not synthetics masquerading as health foods, or chemicals promising a “quick fix”. Peg grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, in an era of good food, prepared at home and eaten together as part of belonging to a family. “We’ve never lived in a time of so much heart disease, cancer, diabetes and such,” says Peg, “these were rare when people trusted nature rather than science and chemicals.” As a junior high English and Reading teacher for thirty years, Peg had to keep up on things. “I love learning about people and how they have lived. The thing that I’ve learned that most relates to this business is that (historically) when people put quality above quantity and took responsibility for their own health...they were actually healthy.” This love of the fundamentals of truly natural foods began in the mid-seventies when Peg decided to become a vegetarian. “I had to learn more about food,” explained Peg, “and I had to find sources for whole foods, preferably those grown without chemicals, by farmers who saw the bigger picture and had respect for the land and the environment.”
Conventional grocery stores did not carry whole foods at that time. The only place to get them was co-ops. The problem was that the co-ops were always teetering on the brink financially. “I wanted to find a way to offer the best foods available and make the enterprise self-sustaining,” said Peg. When the last co-op she was involved with decided to call it a day, Peg and the manager were willing to gamble that with some changes, it could work as a private business. The two were partners for three years. In early December, 1997, Nature’s Pantry opened its doors in a much smaller building across the street from its present location at 112 West Main Street, in Rockton. The store flourished until six years ago, when growing pains made the move from the original building imperative. So when the present location, built in the 1930’s as a grocery store, became available, Peg snatched it up. In fact, loyal customers actually helped with the long overdue move.
When asked how the name Nature’s Pantry was chosen, Peg explains, “We always wanted the store to be about food—thus the Pantry part. We wanted our pantry to be stocked with only the best—that which is supplied naturally, without all of the chemicals or processed, refined, nutrient-deficient ingredients—thus the Nature’s. To be honest, if I were naming the store today, I’d probably call it the Organic Grocer. The word natural has come to encompass too much that isn’t natural at all.” At Nature’s Pantry, a full service grocery, you’ll find a wonderful selection of meats, produce and other products raised on small , local family farms and businesses. “I like that our meats come from farms where the animals have only one bad day in their lives. In fact, I love that most of what we offer comes from the type of farm that people conjure up when they think of farms-- rather than from “agribusinesses” where what is produced is often out of sync with the natural world. I think my favorite products are those that encourage people to share in the preparation and enjoyment of a meal. Slow food also helps promote family connections in the kitchen and at the table which build the emotional health that so many children are struggling to find.”
Peg Lockman feels she has been richly blessed. “I love our customers. I love the people who work here.” Running her own organic grocery store has been more than rewarding for her. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer people the best whole, organic foods, which naturally contain all of the nutrients designed for natural good health. It’s wonderful to watch people learn that creating good health as a way of life is superior to the cycle of illness and cure.” She took what she learned and was fortunate enough to create something that worked successfully. “We’ve never tried to be anything other than a small, local organic grocery.” If that sounds like a small accomplishment—it most certainly is not! Congratulations, Peg Lockman and Nature’s Pantry, wishing you many more years of success.
*******Nature's Pantry Special Offer*******
Build Your Own Sandwich!25% off on all Berlin Natural Bakery Breads and Buns. You’ll receive 10% off on three sandwich ingredients of your choosing with the purchase of a loaf of Berlin Natural Bakery Bread or Buns To take advantage of this special offer please mention this article to the checker to get the discount!