The vegan grocery store in Durango, New Mexico, has a cult following among many people who aren’t vegetarian.
“I feel like I’m the only one in the grocery store,” said one customer, who didn’t want to be identified.
“We have to be vegan.”
The store sells a variety of products including dairy-free milk, tofu, and more.
“It’s like going to the grocery for a quick meal,” said another customer.
“There’s no cheese, no sugar, no salt, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no trans fats.”
There’s also a wide variety of produce and meats.
The store is owned by Darlene Davis, a former vegan, and is a regular fixture in the local grocery store scene.
“Vegan” isn’t just an online buzzword.
The vegan store is one of the few in the US that is vegan friendly, and its customers are just as likely to buy items from a vegan perspective as a non-vegan perspective.
“The vegan grocery is the one place in New Mexican where you don’t have to worry about being vegan, you don’s not have to look at animal products,” said Davis.
“You don’t need to go out of your way to buy products that are animal products.
They’re all vegan.”
It’s a big shift for a store that had been around for over 60 years, and has always prided itself on being environmentally conscious.
“As far as the history of this store, we’re not a traditional supermarket,” said Denise Pomeranz, director of the Organic Food Service at Durango’s Whole Foods Market.
“Our goal is to keep it sustainable, organic, and environmentally responsible.”
For years, Pomerantz has worked to expand the store, adding more food and products from local farmers and local producers.
“For us, we always have to take into account the impact on the environment,” she said.
“But, also, it’s a way to celebrate a really good time of year and celebrate all the foods that we’re celebrating in the store.”
Pomerz says that as a result of the store’s growing vegan community, sales have increased significantly in recent years.
“They see it as a way of getting in touch with the community,” she explained.
“And they have really positive responses from the community, which is very encouraging.”
For those who don’t want the extra steps of buying meat or dairy products, there are vegan products available.
“Every year, I get emails from people wanting to go to the vegan grocery and it’s something that they’ve been wanting to do for years,” said Pomeraz.
“So, it just feels really good to know that there’s a vegan community out there.”
As for the restaurant, the new owners are also happy to see the vegan community in town.
“In the beginning, we didn’t really have any of these other vegan stores, so we didn, like, get into it,” said owner John Smith.
“Now, we have more restaurants, and people really want to go there.
“At the end of the day, it all depends on the community that we can be a part of.””
Hopefully, that continues to grow,” he added.
“At the end of the day, it all depends on the community that we can be a part of.”