By GATES PORTER and MADOLINE MARKHAM
The Green Door Natural Foods advocated a natural approach to health care long before it became the trend it is today. Founded by Mountain Brook residents Anne Kidd, Jeraldine Snow and Kitty Sutherland 40 years ago, the family-oriented shop is located in the corner shops of Mountain Brook Village.
Upon walking inside the small establishment, one will quickly notice rows of shelves and refrigerators brimming with a selection of vitamins and supplements, cosmetics, herbs and natural foods. Popular products include co-q-10 for heart or cardiovascular issues; acai, an antioxidant that comes from a berry; resveratrol, a heart-healthy supplement derived from red wine; and Wellness Formula for the immune system.
Owner Carlene Snow offers her customers the personal attention that large stores cannot. She knows everyone who comes in by their first names and answers all their questions about products and what they do. “We help customers stay healthy and happy,” she said.
The Green Door also sells Reviva Labs skin care products, including lotions, creams, cleansers and anti-wrinkle cream. “They are as all natural as he can possibly make them,” Snow said.
Snow has owned and operated The Green Door since 1994 with the help of one part-time employee, Jane Cusik. Before that, she learned the business while working for an establishment similar to The Green Door in Hoover. “I became so interested that I never wanted to leave,” she said.
Sutherland ran the store for about 20 years before Snow took over. For much of that time, sister business The Green Door Luncheon Restaurant served soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts; those recipes were captured in a The Green Door Cookbook published in 1980.
Snow’s interest in natural treatments stems from personal experience. “In the early 70s, I became very sickly and ill, and the doctors I went to see tried everything in an attempt to help, but nothing worked” she said. Finally, after trying many other medical treatments prescribed by her doctors, Snow turned to the option of natural health products in an attempt to end years of illness. To her delight and partial surprise, this novel approach alleviated her sickness. “After beginning my natural nutritional program, I truly turned my life around.” she said.
Remembering her own experience with the wonders of natural vitamins and supplements, Snow continues to stock the latest in all-natural health items. “We have an extremely wide and up-to-date selection of products for both children and adults,” she said.
Snow also gets excited about how the popularity of products like hers has grown. “In recent years I have been thrilled to see a tremendous increase in interest concerning a natural approach to healthcare, especially among young people,” she said.
Over the years of operating The Green Door, a continuous consumer allegiance to her establishment has proven to be a genuine source of camaraderie. Snow sees many of her store’s visitors as friends rather than merely as patrons. “I lost my husband last year, and my customers have provided me with the kindness and comforting friendship that one needs following such an event,” Snow said. “My customers are truly the best part of owning this business.”
The Green Door Natural Foods
2843 Culver Road
Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.