by Sheila Julson
Bo Bray knows about good food. As store manager of GreenAcres Market’s Oklahoma City location, she, along with Kesha Cross, marketing/events coordinator and dietary consultant, and a team of 37 knowledgeable employees, helps customers choose the best organic foods, supplements, fresh deli edibles, holistic beauty items and pet products to achieve personal, social and environmental health.
Bray’s family is from Catoosa, Oklahoma. They kept a large garden, which instilled in her a love of fresh fruits and vegetables. “I appreciate the effort that goes into gardening, and the fresh vegetables and fruit that come as a result,” she says.
Cross has long held an appreciation for good health and staying fit. She was a dance major in college. “Over the years. I just educated myself and learned about whole, organic foods and supplements,” she relates. “Changing my diet made a difference in my hormones and controlling my weight and energy.”
Today, Cross is a vegetarian, but she includes healthy fats, such as locally farmed free-range eggs, as well as beans in her diet. “It’s getting back to basics, the way our ancestors used to eat,” she says. “The less processed, the better, and here at GreenAcres, I love training employees and educating customers.” Using her own dietary experiences, Cross guides customers seeking information about special diets, such as vegetarian, paleo and the popular ketogenic—a diet similar to paleo but focuses on healthy fats, with fewer protein requirements.
Both Bray and Cross credit GreenAcres’ seasoned staff with the store’s success. Some of the employees are former customers, so they already have an interest in holistic wellness. “We hold training sessions twice a month so employees can learn about our products and new items,” Bray says. “We have a certified naturopath on staff, Robab, and she helps customers with supplements. Marjorie also helps customers who want to learn more about special diets, like vegan and vegetarian.”
Cross remarks that because of the immense size of the Oklahoma City GreenAcres store—23,000 square feet—and vast choices, customers walking in for the first time might be intimidated. The staff strives to put people at ease by helping them make the best decisions for their health and dietary goals.
GreenAcres’ easy-to-use customer rewards program received an upgrade this year. “We have a new mobile app. Customers still earn points and are able to redeem them for $5 off their purchase,” Bray explains. There are also digital coupons available, and punch cards for the deli, so customers can earn free sandwiches and salads. Don’t have a smartphone? No problem. Just visit the website (GreenAcres.com/rewards) to sign up. Cashiers can look up all rewards customers at the register.
The deli is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and includes a case with hot food. Bray says they cater to special diets, including vegan and gluten-free. She praises Perla, the deli manager, with cooking tasty creations for the hot case and leading the deli crew to present the freshest deli and salad bar possible.
GreenAcres carries an array of local and artisan products, such as sweet potatoes from Arcadian Farms, Lomah Dairy milk, El Rancho Salsa and Hilltop Honey.
Customers are encouraged to try before they buy through daily product samples. Tuesdays are vendor days, and many food company representatives are present throughout the store to offer samples of food, supplements, and health and beauty products.
Health-related documentary screenings are held the first Monday of every month in the event room. GreenAcres also hosts a wide variety of cooking classes, do-it-yourself health and beauty classes, and talks covering supplements and vitamins.
When asked about their favorite product at GreenAcres, both Bray and Cross are hard-pressed to choose one. “The coconut oils,” Bray finally says. “It’s good for brain health, metabolism and weight loss, and it can be used topically for the skin.”
Cross chooses maca root. “I’m known as the maca queen around here,” she laughs. “It’s a hormonal regulator and helps with thyroid issues. We carry several brands, such as Gaia, Whole World Botanicals and Herb Pharm tincture. But I could go on and on about all of my favorite things here. We’re a one-stop shop, with the largest supplement selection in 19 states. You will find what you’re looking for.”
GreenAcres Market is located at 7301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Ste. D, in Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405-681-6060 or visit GreenAcres.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.