Natural Products Association Makes Room for Next Generation of Shop Owners

With independent natural food stores being handed down to new generations, the Natural Products Association is accommodating its younger members with the launch of a new leadership committee.

A new generation of business owners—picking up the torch from their parents—are getting the natural food bug, and the Natural Products Association is giving these new members their own voice in the industry’s future.

Earlier this year, NPA announced the launch of its Next Generation Leadership Committee, a working group focused on reaching new generations of stakeholders in the natural products industry—both business owners and consumers.

As The New York Times notes, this is not an uncommon trend in the natural products space, as many mom-and-pop stores that have been active for decades change ownership to offspring who grew up with such a business in the family.

Emily Kanter, who is chairing NPA’s new committee, is in the process of taking over ownership of her parents’ store, Cambridge Naturals. The shop has been in the family for more than 40 years, and Kanter’s plan to take over the business with her husband, Caleb Dean, came after a period in which her parents considered selling the business instead of handing it off to the next generation.

“This was never just a business for us. It was more of a larger mission to bring products and information to people to help improve their lives, offer solutions for health issues and to be active in the community,” Kanter’s father, Michael, told the Times.

But the allure of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, store became strong for Emily, who shares her parent’s ideals on health food.

“My parents were getting to the point where they didn’t want to be involved day to day but they still cared about the business and its future,” the younger Kanter told the Times.

Her father added that “the transition is an attempt to keep that mission alive in some form for another 40 years.”

In February comments on the launch of the committee, NPA CEO Daniel Fabricant noted that the organization’s approach to committees is meant to bring out the best in the industry as a whole.

“These committees, and the volunteers who contribute their time and energy, ensure the association is seeing all viewpoints and receiving input from all facets of the industry to better both the organization and the industry as a whole,” Fabricant said.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!