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Longtime villager Coltrane Richlen recently purchased Starflower Natural Foods at 142 Dayton St. from Marnie Neumann. The grand opening for Rosie’s Natural Foods was March 1. (Submitted photo)

Health foods for YS — Rosie’s Natural Foods now open

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By Elle Peifer

Coltrane Richlen has long been interested in alternative medicine and a whole food lifestyle. So it wasn’t surprising when the villager became interested in owning her own natural food store.

“I have been a supporter of the non-GMO movement and concerned about the impact of pesticides and herbicides on the environment, wildlife and ourselves,” she recently told the News.

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Meanwhile, as a massage therapist for the last 11 years, she’s been sharing her love of all things health and healing with others.

“Natural remedies and healing have always been an interest of mine,” she said.

On Monday, March 1, Richlen will open Rosie’s Natural Foods at 142 Dayton St., having purchased Starflower Natural Foods from Marnie Neumann in early February.

“Marnie …. approached my husband and me some years ago about the possibility of us buying the business,” Richlen recalled. “So, it’s been on the table for some time and when she approached us [last] summer with a solid offer, we decided it was time.”

Richlen moved to Yellow Springs when she was 2 years old and grew up here. All told, she has spent 44 total years in the village. It’s where, with her husband Richard Taylor II, she raised her two children, Richard III, 25, and Ella, 17, both of whom have attended Yellow Springs Schools.

The name Rosie’s is a nod to her family; it’s both her daughter’s and her sister’s middle name.

Yellow Springs has had a health food store since the 1960s, albeit with different locations, names and owners. The Organic Grocery, or the OG, on Xenia Avenue, was one such long standing institution. Neumann opened Starflower in 2010 after purchasing the shop from the owners of Springs Natural Foods, which was at the same location on Dayton Street.

Along with the name change, Richlen will be making other minor changes to the store. She has been working on cosmetic upgrades, such as painting and cleaning, while the store has been closed, with plans for other changes in line with the community’s interests.

“I am new and fresh to the scene so there are lots of good ideas that I have that I think the community might really enjoy,” she said.

Looking at product offerings, Richlen said she would like to add bulk spices and teas, as well as a larger frozen food selection, “pastured 100% grass-fed meats from a local farm,” and a “line of organic hair care products for all sorts of curly hair textures.”

“I want people to know that we have a fabulous bulk food section that provides wonderful cost-effective grains, nuts and dried fruits as well as fabulous body care products,” she said.

At Rosie’s, Richlen would also like to incorporate some locally made items.

“Anyone in the Yellow Springs area that is interested in bringing their products into the store, I will definitely consider,” Richlen said.

The biggest challenge she has faced thus far is getting set up with all of the different distributors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are working from home and face-to-face meetings aren’t possible.

But Richlen’s been fortunate enough to have help from Neumann.

“The previous owner really did a wonderful job with supplying the community with the things that they needed, and she kept that up really well,” she said. “I plan to keep that up for sure because I know a lot of people depend on that.”

But whereas Starflower came under scrutiny from local officials and villagers due to its lax stance on mask enforcement during the pandemic, Rosie’s new owner says that staff will be taking all COVID-19 precautions. Masks will be required to enter the store, and provided to anyone who does not have one. Hand sanitizer will be located throughout the store for customers.

Rosie’s will also be offering curbside pickup, as well as free delivery to Yellow Springs community members. Customers should call the store number to order and pay over the phone.

“I will offer free delivery to the Yellow Springs area. If anyone is not feeling well or they are in the vulnerable group, they should call, and we will deliver for free,” Richlen explained.

Although Richlen was a massage therapist for many years, she hasn’t been practicing due to the pandemic. Buying Rosie’s seemed like the perfect transition for her, she said.

Eventually Richlen would like to be able to open a smoothie bar here, although that may be far off. Her current goal is to serve the needs of the community here.

“The goal is to provide the community with a place to buy products that suit their needs for a natural, chemical-free lifestyle, and to be the place where they can shop locally for those things instead of traveling out of town.”

*The writer is a YSHS grad, an Ohio Wesleyan University student and a Yellow Springs Community Foundation Miller Fellow for the News.

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4 Responses to “Health foods for YS — Rosie’s Natural Foods now open”

  1. Reena says:

    Love Rosies very quality products and staff knowledge of products

  2. Ellen Marshall says:

    Richlen has done a fine job of ushering this natural foods store into the present times. Where the pandemic meets climate change and a host of chronic and autoimmune illnesses, she is cheerful, knowledgeable about nutrition and immune systems. And the best, is that Rosie’s offers a safe, quiet space to study labels and find what’s right for me.

  3. Barbara Jean says:

    What kind of mask is she wearing in this photo? I don’t know if it is a ‘vent mask’ or something else, but, just to be safe, please remind readers and mask wearers to choose wisely. According to CDC do NOT wear a mask that has “exhalation valves or vents which allow virus particles to escape”

    Have a good week!

  4. Gemsonlee Sallie says:

    One of the best alternative mood enhancers I have found is watching re-runs of the the “Carbonaro Effect.” If that guy can’t make a sour mood disappear than nothing can. Good luck; stay healthy; wear proper mask and all.

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