GRAND RE-OPENING: Manna Foods, 171 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains NY 10601

GRAND RE-OPENING: Manna Foods, 171 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains NY  10601

Like success stories?  The kind where hard work, solid core values, sustained focus and commitment to a goal are how it happens? Well, me too- and you will LOVE  this one!!

Running a small business has never been ‘easy’, but the last few years have presented even greater challenges. Some have been squeezed out, others hang on.

Last week, Manna Foods became twice the store it had been.

Operating in the same 1000 sf storefront since 1977, this health food store took down a wall, and expanded into the adjacent vacant store, doubling  their space.

Niels Svendsen, Manna’s  founder and owner, gives a lot of credit to the building’s owner, Paul Dillani, for his vision, sense of community and support.

Paul also owns the adjacent restaurants, The Porter House and Hudson Grill; sharing the outside dining space is one example of his wiser, big-picture philosophy.

As our economy is starting to regenerate, it’s a great story on its own, but it’s got an even better back story.

Their customers travel from all over Westchester, but to  anyone who lives in lower Westchester, has ever shopped on Mamaroneck Avenue, or worked in White Plains-Manna Foods hardly needs any introduction.

For nearly 34 years, Manna Foods has been an anchor in the continually shifting  face of retail in  downtown White Plains . Simply: providing area residents good choices about healthy food is pretty much Niels’  mission in life.

The list of what to like about Manna Foods is substantial:

They carry  a well-chosen assortment of certified organic, natural and minimally processed foods, beverages and produce, AND a full line of  vitamins and supplements their own private label, plus several  brand name lines all nicely discounted.

The Food Bar, where every weekday fresh vegetarian loaves and soups, stews, chilis, salads, wraps and burritos, along with fresh-squeezed juices are  made for the lunchtime crowd.

(Doug gave the Macho Stew 2 thumbs up-tasty and satisfying;  and after reading their NYT review- am now watching the daily menu for the next appearance of the curried brown rice.)

You can shop online, and healthier choices are both easier and more convenient with their website: there are recipes,  resources and health news, as well as an exhaustive reference library, where all you might ever need to know about conditions, wellness, drugs, herbs and supplements is literally A-Z, under Treatment Options.

The interior is bright and airy, and ohyes, lunch in the back courtyard is a lovely, relaxing  mid-day repast.

But IMO, what makes Manna Foods such a great find are the people, their passions and principles.

They have not just been a presence in downtown White Plains all these years, they have been a personality.

I have been an occasional customer for at least 15 years, and without exception, every person I’ve ever spoken to there knew what they were talking about, and genuinely wanted to help me-not ‘sell’ me.

Besides Niels, there are  7 other employees at Manna. In retail where turnover is HUGE, Mannas’ staff STAYS.  Gregory (r), pictured here with Niels- goes back 32 years with Manna-first few years as a customer,  but an employee all the rest.

Bottom line, Manna Foods is a gem. Stop in, see their ‘new’ space, have a California Burger in the back courtyard, and get to know these great neighbors.

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