If you live locally there is a good chance you have passed by Natural Selection, located on East Main Street in Grass Valley.
A relatively hidden gem, Natural Selection is owned and operated by Sara and Eli Bottrell whose family has been in the grocery business for nearly 50 years, running Mother Truckers on the North San Juan Ridge.
“We’ve been at this location for almost 25 years,” said Sara. “And then Eli and I have taken it over about 10 years ago but I have worked here since 2008.
“We were moving back to town after having sales and tech jobs and wanted a slower pace of life and I come from a grocery background. My dad was in grocery his whole life.”
The list of vendors from which Natural Selection obtains their product climbs into the hundreds, but they are proud to offer a selection of local vendors. And by local, they mean really local.
“We source from hundreds of vendors and some of it is local; coffees and sweets and cookies and a lot of local produce. A lot of our stuff comes from more home-grown companies as well,” said Bottrell. “We have a lot more local products than other (stores). They say ‘local’ but it could be from 300 miles away and I think they say if it’s from California it’s local. We do more of a regional focus.”
Bottrell likes to give shoppers a more unique shopping experience, one that is focused on the customer and might be a little bit different than your average trip to the store. A high priority for them is to provide an affordable shopping trip, though inflation has made that more challenging.
“We lower margins. We are constantly going after every deal. It’s hard being the small guy.”
Like many markets, Natural Selection chooses some of its merchandise based on the season.
“If they are getting to be nine dollars for a clamshell of berries we usually pass on that because our customers will pass on that. If it’s super out-of-season we will usually pass on that. Produce is much more seasonal than any other item.”
Speaking of seasons, Natural Selection is currently loaded with Thanksgiving turkeys, pies, and all the accoutrements, many of which Bottrell said are specially priced for the holiday. The store also presents gift items like candles, soap, body care, and the like.
“We are locally owned and operated and we support our community,” said Bottrell. “We support North San Juan Fire Department, North Columbia Schoolhouse, the Center for the Arts; we try to give back as much as we can and just be an alternative where people can find good healthy food for affordable prices.”
Natural Selection is at 589 East Main Street in Grass Valley. The store can be reached at 530-272-8789, and they are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Nobles email [email protected] or call 530-477-4232.