The Ground Floor: New Cedar Rapids store offers health food in bulk

Local business caters to restaurants, health conscious, gluten-free clientele

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Published: October 9 2012 | 6:00 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 1:41 am in
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It's part store and part factory. And that allows Martin's Country Store owner Teri Whisenhunt to sell more than 200 varieties of baking, soup and meal mixes.

The 2,100-square-foot store, which made its debut during a grand opening on Sept. 29, also sells more than 1,000 foods in bulk including spices, pasta, dried beans, rice, grains, coffee, tea and candy. That, Whisenhunt noted, permits them to sell to restaurants, as well.

The business is family owned and operated, and Whisenhunt said she's been working in the gluten-free industry for a number of years, though this is her first business of this nature.

"I have a Ph.D. in nutrition, I was a special-education teacher, and that’s how I got started in the (gluten-free) industry,” Whisenhunt said.

Martin's Country Store manufactures and hand-packages gluten-free food on-location, she said. The company then places directions and nutritional information on the labels for buyers concerned about allergens and other health issues, she said.

"I'm a gluten-free manufacturer, so I got the building to manufacture in here, and then we decided to open the bulk-food store," Whisenhunt said.

The store also has a special air-conditioning system that prevents cross-contamination, Whisenhunt added. She said about one-third of the merchandise is gluten-free and the rest is organic.

The store also features Amish foods, including fresh baked goods and homemade noodles Thursday through Saturday.

Owner: Teri Whisenhunt

Company: Martin's Country Store

Address: 1850 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (319) 393-4404

Website: http://www.terisglutenfree.com/

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday to Friday; 8 a.m. -4 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday

Staff size: 9 employees

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