Vitamin City transcends its name with healthy alternatives

vitamin-city-michelle.jpgBy Heather Posey
Staff Writer

Though the name on the store may say Vitamin City, the self-described health food store offers so much more than vitamins. With specialty products designed for those with special dietary needs, the Spring Street shop is stocked with many hard-to-find foods at competitive prices.
Open since 1983, Vitamin City is owned by Myung Soon Lee, who has been in retail since 1974. With a substantial stock of vitamins, the store has grown to accommodate alternative foods and products at the suggestion of customers who had a hard time finding foods because of various intolerances to items such as dairy or wheat.
“There’s a lot of celiac, or people that can’t have gluten,” said store manager Michelle Entac. “We have a lot of people come in saying ‘I can’t have this or I can’t have that’ and if the owner can find it, she will get it for them.”
According to Entac, the store gets many special orders for individuals with celiac and people that have autistic children who can’t have wheat or gluten.
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, found in wheat, rye, barley and malt. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as beauty aids, medicines, and vitamins.
“We have a good selection of gluten-free items,” said Lee. “We also offer a wide range of products, vitamins, organic produce and healthy alternative snacks and desserts.” vitamin-city-tsr.jpg
Not just for the gluten intolerant, Vitamin City also carries dairy-free products, sugar-free items, and foods for people with nut allergies or who are vegetarian or vegan. The store also has fresh fruits and vegetables delivered every Tuesday.
A self-proclaimed one-stop shop, Vitamin City has something for everyone with items such as biodegradable diapers and even specialty pet foods.
As for business, the health food store has grown in popularity from word of mouth, but Lee credits their success to the expertise and excellence of her staff.
“Our goal is to supply good products for our customers with the best value for their money,” she said. “We also try to offer our honest opinions. We try to review and reference as much data as possible and disseminate that information for our customers to the best of our abilities.”
Vitamin City is located at 6247 East Spring Street in Long Beach. The store’s hours are Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call (562) 425-6411.

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