Mount Vernon is home to a number of independent businesses, from an apothecary to a bike shop. One of those long-standing businesses is Down to Earth Natural Foods, a health food store tucked away on West Gambier Street. Small and cozy-looking from the outside, the store holds a surprisingly robust number of products on the inside.
Founder Dick Snow established Down to Earth in 1979 and owned the store with his wife Joanne for 35 years, according to current owner Susan Singrey. She assumed ownership when Snow retired in 2015, after working at the store for two years.
Down to Earth supplies a variety of specialty health food goods and nutritional supplements, many of which cannot be found elsewhere in Mount Vernon. Some products recently featured on its Facebook page include dairy-free nutritional shakes, loose-leaf hibiscus tea and natural allergy-relief solutions such as nettle and elderberry supplements.
The store advertises a “Tea of the Month,” giving frequent customers something new to look forward to. April’s tea flavor was Hibiscus Heaven, which had “floral notes, a bit of tartness, and hints of citrus,” according to a Facebook post from the store.
Since its inception, Down to Earth has aimed to provide a variety of options. Special orders comprise a significant portion of its business, allowing customers to find the specific product they want while supporting the store. The store’s stock changes seasonally, offering more immune-boosting products in the winter and sun protection merchandise in the summer, though teas and herbs are consistent best-sellers, Singrey said. More recently, Down to Earth has begun supplying CBD products as they have become more popular.
While many businesses continue to struggle with decreased demand during the pandemic, Down to Earth has actually seen an increase in some sales. Products containing Vitamin C and Vitamin D have sold well since the pandemic began, as have other products that support immune health, Singrey said. “It’s made people more aware of natural ways of caring for their health,” Singrey said.
Customers are often impressed with the quality of Down to Earth’s products, as well as the welcoming atmosphere the store fosters. A Yelp user called the store “one of the coolest hidden places in Mount Vernon.”
Kenyon students are also happy customers. Sarah Ganz ’23 visited the store recently and enjoyed the chance to test a variety of essential oils, which she couldn’t do when shopping online. “I was really delighted to visit the store because I found one of my favorite teas and was able to stock up on food I haven’t had since being home,” Ganz wrote in an email to the Collegian.
You can find Down to Earth at 104 West Gambier Street in Mount Vernon and on its Facebook page, Down to Earth Natural Foods, where new products are posted as they arrive.