For locals, Foods For Living is a landmark. Maybe they come in for the Lansing area’s only all-organic produce section, the coffee samples, and the friendly staff. (We’d like to think it’s the latter, if we’re being honest. And we are. That’s another reason people keep coming back, probably—honesty.) Perhaps they come for our massive supplement section, and the vitamin and herb experts who run it. Many just come for the live music and the freshly-prepared deli food. Where else can you reliably get amazing carrot cake and listen to some bluegrass on lunch? Regardless of what brings them through the door, they’ve been coming for twenty years, and we are so, so humbled and grateful to be celebrating with our East Lansing family.
When John and Wilma Snyder began Foods For Living in 1997, it was a small operation—a few islands of produce, a smattering of supplements, and John’s charm were the main offerings. But East Lansing was clear about what it had been missing, grocery-wise. Business was too good for the tiny space the couple were renting, and they had to think big, and quickly.
John and Wilma decided to build the business they had always wanted, from the ground up. John was a fourth generation grocer; family and grocery had always been one and the same for him. He made Foods For Living employee-owned, expanding his family to anyone wearing a green apron under our roof.
Over the past twenty years, our family has included hundreds of people from the local community. For some, FFL is a career. For others, it’s a first job, or a middle chapter in their life story; FFL alumni have gone on to become doctors, dietitians, radio personalities, and painters. No matter what adventures our employees pursue, their path always seems to lead back to us, whether for groceries, a life update, or just to listen to the jams and eat the samples.
As much as we love our regulars (and that’s a lot…it’s almost weird), we love meeting new people too. Recently diagnosed with a food intolerance? Trying to find the right protein powder? Want to talk about skateboards over a kombucha? (At twenty years old, we’re no longer a teenager, but we’re still going to talk about skateboards). Our twentieth birthday is the perfect time to get acquainted. Even if you’re just passing through East Lansing and want some local food to prove to your friends you were really here, we can hook you up.
Whenever, wherever we can, Foods For Living always goes local. We donate to local charities, host local musicians, and, of course, carry as much Michigan-based food and drink as possible—and then some. We’re proud to offer Oh Mi Organics chocolates, Addictive Granola from Crooked Tree Breadworks, Maggie’s Socks, LorAnn Oils, ELT oils, local honey from Champanes Bee Company, mead from St. Ambrose Cellars, and more Michigan beer and wine than is reasonable. It always smells good in here, but right now it smells extra good, because we’re offering local flowers from East Lansing’s The Feral Field.
We hope you’ll stop by sometime in September to celebrate with us. We’re having flash sales all through the month—follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get a taste of what’s in store. And when you make it in, help yourself to a snack. In September, we’ll be hosting demonstrations and sample-fests from tons of Michigan-based tastemakers: Founder’s Brewery, Stone House Bakery, The Brinery, and Cultured (live probiotic rich foods), and many more.
Turning twenty isn’t easy. But we’re trying to do it with grace—keeping it classy, while getting just wild enough to keep things interesting. If you’re new to the area, this month is a great time for us to get acquainted. If you’re a local, well… stop reading this and come on in already!
Kirk Marrison is the store director of Foods for Living in East Lansing, MI. Contact him at [email protected] .