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In the factory town of Kokomo, Ind., a natural foods store is an unexpected sight—especially one that’s thriving and growing. The Sunspot Natural Market’s co-owners share secrets of the 34-year-old stores continued success.
In the factory town of Kokomo, Ind., a natural foods store is an unexpected sight—especially one that’s thriving and growing. Home to General Motors components Kokomo Transmission Plant and Delco Electronics, Kokomo has struggled in recent years with unemployment rates above both the national and state averages. Given such economic challenges, The Sunspot Natural Market's continued success is inspiring and impressive.
Joan Johnson opened the store in 1977 having no business experience and just about that much money. Her grandmother on her mother’s side was into herbs, while her grandfather on her dad’s side had opened and run his own deli, so it seemed Johnson was genetically fated to run a natural foods store. Her current business partner, her nephew, Michael Anderson, grew up in his aunt’s store, playing there as a child and working there as a young adult. Anderson's wife, Angela Anderson, is also now a co-owner.
Over its 34-year existence, Sunspot has grown a loyal following in Kokomo and given birth to a second store, about one hour west in the college town of West Lafayette, Ind. Both stores boast regular customers who drive an hour each way to shop there—quite impressive given that natural products are now available via so many retail channels and online. What are Johnson and the Andersons doing to create such loyalty and devotion?