I grew up around nature, farms and gardens, farmers’ markets, and signs that read “local” or “all-natural.” When I moved to New York City, I assumed that part of my life would come to a halt; you can’t exactly fit a dairy farm in Manhattan.
And then I found Lifethyme. Three blocks away from my college, stocked with products hailing from my hometown of Ithaca, NY, and sensibly priced for the broke college student that I am, Life Thyme was a win-win…win.
Opened in 1995, Lifethyme has made it their mission to create a complete, natural market, equipped with a juice bar, bakery, supplement counter, body care section, kitchen, and grocery store that delivers. “We wanted it to be entirely complete. We were one of the first; there are other health stores, but none just like us,” says Jason, owner of Lifethyme. And he isn’t kidding, the store has everything. Walk a few blocks and get all natural groceries, toiletries, dinner, and dessert all in one trip. They even have all natural chocolate, a fan favorite!
The local organic movement was a big motivation. Products like veggies and dairy come from farms upstate and are brought down to this quaint, natural shop in Manhattan’s West Village. No wonder I felt a wave of nostalgia as I walked inside, greeted by organic sweet potatoes, organic Ithaca milk, and that unmistakable scent of fresh food, poorly replicated by the more expensive Whole Foods. I was hooked and I hadn’t even been upstairs yet.
Being in between two major colleges, The New School and NYU, Jason understands how hard it is to maintain a healthy, organic lifestyle on a budget, so he has one philosophy: “a store needs to be affordable for everyone, meeting the wants and needs of all economic classes.” That’s why the store is always trying to improve both product and price-wise. Each month promotional fliers are distributed with new deals and discounts, the salad bar is 50% off after 9PM, and everyday prices stay at an affordable rate.
I explored, in awe of the quantity and variety of products. Upon walking in, I was met with the freshest of fruits and vegetables (organic apples happen to be my favorite), then I made it to some dairy products from my home sweet home, then to the prepared foods, stocked with raw-vegan, vegan, vegetarian, and even omnivorous food. Next I stared longingly at the baked goods: chocolate vegan cakes that made me want to forget about dinner. Making the full circle, I saw the grocery section and realized that I would never have to go anywhere else, as they had it all: cereal, bread, pasta, canned soup, canned vegetables, you name it. I was even able to try free samples from Garden of Life, a company that promotes raw and natural energizers and vitamins. Upstairs they had even more! Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, candles, incense, yoga mats, make-up AND a seating area where you could eat your prepared food and rest your feet. Like I said, I was hooked.
Even better, Lifethyme is always looking for ways to get more involved with the community, to do more, and to improve themselves. For all of you interested students out there, Lifethyme wants you to be involved. Whether it’s through events or collaborations, the shop wants to improve their student base by including our generation in their mission for healthier living. Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. Lifethyme cares about health in every sense of the word and when it’s only a short walk away, it seems pretty worth it.
Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.
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