Interview with Rutgers:
Here is our recent interview with Rutgers University:
1. How did the business get started?
Dotty a local resident of Piscataway started Green Acres in 1977. Her goal was to provide the local community with healthy alternatives to over processed foods. In her quest to better the community’s choices, she incorporated nutritionally based supplements. Dotty continued to educate the commute about the importance of a healthy and natural lifestyle throughout the 12 years she owned the store. Dotty then decided to retire and sold the store to another local resident named Kathy Williams. Kathy bought the store in the late 80’s, the store was relocated from its original location in the Middlesex mall to the Centennial Square Plaza where it’s still currently located today. In March of 2010 the store was once again sold to Waqar Arain who moved into the area and decided to purchase Green Acres from Kathy. The store has been passed down from generation to generation to continue its struggle as an Independent Health Food Store. And with the new owner having experience within the health food industry his whole life, we plan to expand the store by bringing in more food and adding an organic juice bar/deli.
2. Does the business have any sort of mission statement or a mission in general?
The main goal for Green Acres is to provide the local community with good quality, natural supplements and food. We offer a great variety of products designed to better our health, but most importantly educate our customers about natural products and the importance of them in their diet. Overly processed food and refined sugars are highly correlated with many chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. We try to encourage our customers to live a healthy lifestyle and instead consume foods and supplements that are beneficial for their overall health. Our slogan is “Health Is Wealth”, in the sense that making healthy choices and being aware of natural alternatives can be nothing but beneficial to your overall health.
3. What kind of buying practices does the business practice?
We try to support as many local businesses as possible and also support the small business community in the local area. We buy directly from many small companies or through select few distributors located in Pennsylvania. Most of the products we carry are organic or all natural free from harmful pesticides and herbicides. Furthermore we also purchase vitamins and supplements from quality companies that not only use ingredients that are third party tested for impurities, but also ones that support local organic farmers to obtain their raw materials. Quality means everything to us and we believe in all of the products we sell therefor, we only work with reputable companies in the natural industry. We also take special customer orders for products that we do not have in stock.
a. Do you know from where specifically?
Most of the companies we focus on use local farmers in the northeast. Yes, Majority of the products we carry are Organic and/or Raw.
4. What is the businesses community involvement like? Does the business give back to the community in any way?
We support many community functions and school programs by donating gift certificates or product give away baskets. Our products have been given away at multiple high school banquets, religious functions, emergency relief fundraisers, local police and firefighter events, and health fairs. We also hold our own health fair once a year in September. Our goal is all about educating the community and providing health information. We spend multiple months preparing for the event and create free sample promotion bags to give to every customer that attends. It gives us the opportunity to expose customers to new items and let them sample vitamins and food we have in the store. It’s a great event that started 3 years ago, and we hope to be able to continue giving back to the community.
5. What are the business’s employment practices?
a. How many employees are employed by the business?
b. Does the business contract out any work?
Green Acres is an equal opportunity employer. Our continued success depends on the full participation of all qualified persons regardless of age, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status, military status, disability or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. We have 10 employees currently working at Green Acres. We are an independent health food store and there for we do not contract out any of our employees. One of the main criteria when it comes to our employees and staff is their motivation and passion for “living the health food lifestyle”. We pride ourselves on the knowledge and reliability of our staff. Most of the people working with us were old customers that actually ended up becoming employees. We currently have and have had many Rutgers students work with us.
6. What kind of business associations does the business have?
a. Does the business have any affiliation with bigger corporations?
No we are an independently owned health food store and do not associate with any big corporations. The store is completely self-owned and operated.
7. How does the business get the word out/advertise about services?
Most of our advisement is actually word of mouth. We also have new customers coming in who were referred from friends or family that already shop at green acres. We also have a Facebook page and frequently advertise our monthly sales through an email list. Furthermore, we advertise in the Rutgers Newspaper and through some of the local gyms and health associations in the area.
8. What kind of clientele does the business cater to?
a. Does the business serve many Rutgers students?
b. Does the business accept RU Express?
Most of our clients are local in the area or work nearby. We have a lot of customers that are drawn in by the drive to better their health and would like to gain further knowledge in alternative health supplements. We have a good amount of Rutgers students who shop in our store and we are currently looking into accepting RU. Express. We would like to make Green Acres as accessible to the Rutgers community as possible, considering we are so conveniently located to the Busch and Livingston Campuses.