Robert and Victoria Bradley have several passions, starting with their family of five children ranging in ages from 21 years to 12 months.
Another passion is educating people on how to live better and healthier lives by keeping well, getting well again and staying well. In their efforts to achieve that goal, the Bradleys started Ramona Family Naturals just over a year ago.
Initially a home-based, Internet business, Ramona Family Naturals quickly outgrew the Bradleys’ home office space and, in response to customer demands, they are opening a brick and mortar operation at the site of the former Ace Hardware store at 642 Main St.
Robert Bradley spent 15 years as an Information Technology Systems manager, a background that translated well to developing his own Internet-based company. Victoria has a marketing background and spent 10 years working for the international accounting and consulting firm, Deloitte Touche, also experience invaluable to the couple’s enterprise in Ramona.
When Victoria was pregnant with their son a few years ago, she started to explore nutrition and healthy eating alternatives, beginning with reading a book titled “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordan S. Rubin, Ph.D. More reading and personal research led the family to make a lifestyle change, which included changing the foods they ate and where they bought them.
This new commitment to organic, raw and other unprocessed foods also led to an increase in their grocery budget. In an effort to find local growers and suppliers of healthy natural foods for themselves at lower prices, they realized they had an opportunity to help others who were trying to live healthier lifestyles at a more economical price.
Ramona Family Naturals will offer an opportunity to area growers of organic foods and other vendors of natural foods to have a local distribution outlet. Aside from buying at wholesale, the Bradleys will offer shelf space for lease to local vendors who generally can sell only at farmers markets, a good opportunity for them to get their products out.
In the process of opening their store, Robert said he is learning a lot about economic development.
“I am learning how important it is to help others who are in business locally,” he said. “If we are successful, it will help them to be successful as well.”
The store will have reach-in freezers, produce cases (all organic and all local), bulk bins, health and beauty supplements and products, general merchandise, pet supplies and be the only local outlet for raw milk.
Christine Fasching, previously the Vitamins and Personal Care manager with the former Orchard’s Market in Ramona, is now the Supplements and Personal Care manager for Ramona Family Naturals.
“Many of my former customers are excited about this new store and can hardly wait for us to open,” she said.
In fact, anticipation is so high that the recent winner of the “Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50” contest, 70-year old Ramona resident Mimi Kirk and live-food expert Dr. Ariel Policano, were scheduled to be speaking at the store on Sept. 2, even before its scheduled October opening.
A key component of Ramona Family Naturals’ marketing plan is to offer periodic Health & Wellness seminars. The store will also include a Media and Information Center where customers and potential customers may sit to research books, materials and other resources to learn more about the benefits of gluten and wheat free foods, raw milk and other dairy products, kosher, vegan and vegetarian diets.
The Bradleys will continue to supply their customers, who are in most of the states of the union, with natural food products, supplements, personal care products and educational materials through their Web site at www.RamonaFamilyNaturals.com. But the new store will offer Ramona and other communities in the area an alternative to “going down the hill” to similar shops such as Henry’s or Jimbos.
“We live what we believe in and are putting 100 percent on the line to help others,” said Robert.
He means emotionally, physically and financially that he and his young family are fully invested in this enterprise on Main Street Ramona. Their three-year goal is to expand into carrying organic local wines and beers, and to have an organic bakery and deli.
For information on becoming a supplier, a customer, a renter of shelf space, or an investor in this new enterprise, go to the Ramona Family Naturals Web site, or call 800-778-3515.