by Susan Gardner, Redwood Times
Rio Anderson from Chautauqua Natural Foods and Cafe Minou was the guest speaker at last week's Garberville Rotary Club meeting in Redway.
Anderson's mother, Peg, started Chautauqua in Redway in 1980. She eventually moved the business to the present location, in the former Ice House, on Church Street around 1988.
The word chautauqua originated in 1873 in a town in N.Y., from ja'dahgweh, a Seneca (Iroquoian) name, possibly “one has taken out fish there,” but an alternative suggested meaning is “raised body.” A Methodist summer colony there featured lectures from 1874. Anderson said his mom chose the name and to them it means, “fairs to inspire rural communities as a meeting place to exchange ideas and products.”
They purchased the old Masonic Lodge building, which was originally built by the Masons in the late 1950s, approximately 1-1/2 years ago. The building was recently rezoned commercial/residential and the Andersons have begun to remodel the interior.
Many of the walls and ceilings, which were paneled with curly old-growth redwood, have been taken down and will be recycled in the new construction. The entire building, inside and out, will receive a major facelift and will be a definite asset to Garberville once it is completed.
Anderson said current plans include four 700-sq.-ft., one-bedroom apartments upstairs and offices for the store. Downstairs will be a state-of-the-art health food store with a meat market, gourmet bakery, expanded produce, dairy, frozen foods, and health and beauty departments.
The expanded business will be similar to Eureka Natural Foods, but somewhat smaller. Anderson says that with the expanded size they will do their very best to be competitive with their pricing. He said it is important to reinvest local money back into the community and this is one of the major goals. Anderson said this is home and he is committed to staying here and growing with the community.
Pacific Builders is the expected contractor for the project. The apartments will be the first to be built to bring in the much-needed income to help with the rest of the building renovations. United Natural Foods will help with the setup of the store.
Cafe Minou will continue to serve tarts, empanadas, wraps, salads, sandwiches and more - all with the finest organic ingredients from the store. Their inspirations guide the daily menu, and the results are a fantastic array of fusion cuisine.
Anderson said they will be expanding their seating and kitchen in the cafe, with the possibility of a cafeteria-style kind of dining, where you can pick from an assortment of items. They also plan to have the commercial kitchen available for the area's small entrepreneurs. He said it is very important to help these small businesses and he hopes to carry their products in the new store. They continue to purchase as much produce and meat from local growers as possible and have plans to grind local wheat and grains on site.
Anderson said he is also applying to the county to make the area in front of the store a yellow loading and unloading zone, which will mean a few less parking places for the public. The store's parking lot will be for customers and residents of the apartments.
According to their website, Chautauqua's mission is to nourish the health and wellness of our Southern Humboldt Community, as well as our shared environment.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER