31-year natural foods store growing without moving

       Thwarted from opening a new store two years ago, Mountain Mama is getting bigger right where it is.

Mountain Mama employee Greg Kreger (at register) helps a customer this week, while behind him a plastic tarp separates part of the store from construction impacts, including upgraded flooring (going in at left).
Westside Pioneer photo

       The long-time Westside natural foods retail store at 1625 W. Uintah St. recently leased a unit that had emptied just south of its corner location in the commercial center it anchors.
       The result has been a renovation project, started about six weeks ago, which includes opening a large entryway from the old store into the adjoining unit.
       "We're a few weeks out," said Julie Sasinka, co-owner of the family business this week. "We plan a grand opening in January."
       The eventual outcome will be about 600 square feet of new retail space (adding to the nearly 5,000 at present) and a like amount of office space. Some of the retail square-footage will allow the addition of a coffee bar and a deli seating area.
       There will also be some rearranging and general improvements to "freshen things up some," Sasinka said. But for the most part, "the heart of Mountain Mama remains the same. We're just getting a facelift."
       She thanked the store's customers for bearing with the owners while construction goes on. "Everyone has been extremely supportive," she said. "That's how the Westside is."
       The family had bought land at 19th Street and Henderson Avenue four years ago, planning a new building, but gave up after a neighboring property owner kept complaining about their plans.
       Mountain Mama was started by Sasinka's parents, Kent and Sue, 31 years ago and has been in its current location since 1986.

Westside Pioneer article