The photographer is relieved she thought well enough to avoid catching her own reflection.
The photographer is relieved she thought well enough to avoid catching her own reflection.
Merritt Martin

Best Store Hours Ever: Extra Shopping Minutes Mean So Very Much

Some stores are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Many specialty stores are open at inopportune times for those of us who have regular day job hours.

Vitamin Cottage's Natural Grocers -- the health food and fresh product market in the old Casa Linda Theater space -- offers an extra eight to 10 minutes for -- well, we weren't really sure why, actually.

We noticed the odd hours when we were swinging into Casa Starbucks [what up, baristas!], and had to park a little farther away than usual. The store wasn't actually open at that point, so we called. (And the hold music was awesome. Springsteen's "Born to Run," FTW.)

Store manager Brandon Bevell was quick to satisfy our curiosity.

"It's for customer service purposes. We always open a little before 9 and we don't shut the door at 8," he said. Essentially, a customer who's running a few minutes late can still come in, and one a few minutes early won't have to wait so long in the car.

Bevell said many stores will close right (or open) right on the dot, but owner Kemper Isley and the Vitamin Cottage crew aims to provide convenience through a customer service model that's simple but definitely memorable.

"[The unusual business hours] remind people of Vitamin Cottage," Bevell added. So it's good business practice and marketing. But also, he admits, just funny. "[Laughing], Oh, yeah, our owner definitely has a sense of humor."

Clearly, it worked on us.

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