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Our Mission

“We’re on a mission to fuel a passion for great food, health and well-being and be the place where people gather to shop, eat, and work.”


What We’re All About


“Work is love made visible.”

– Kahlil Gibran

Today we are known in all communities we serve as a company that attracts and retains upbeat, smart, interesting people who jump at the opportunity to help all those around them (we call them 51%-ers – they have that gift for delivering genuine hospitality). Our staff love coming to work because of the diverse and energetic community we have created. We work hard, we get paid well, and we receive meaningful benefits that help us maintain a high quality of life in and out of work.


“I slept and dreamt that life was joy
I awoke and saw that life was service
I acted and behold…
Service was joy.”

-Rabindranath Tagore

These are leaders who are motivated to make proactive change for the company, and they’re deeply invested in the long-term success of Healthy Living. They practice servant leadership every day, nurture and develop their staff into better versions of themselves, and model the 51% skills that differentiate us from all other markets. Our leaders work to help staff succeed and grow every day.


“People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou

“We can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world.”
– Dorothy Day

5 years ago we were reminded that in this age of online shopping, PLACE is still important to our guests. Today PLACE is something we refine, refresh, and reinvigorate regularly. Once upon a time a guest told me (Katy), “Healthy Living is the third place.” When I asked what that meant, she explained that the first place is home, the second place is work, and the third place is Healthy Living; the place where her family can eat, shop, and learn in an environment that inspires health and wellness, feels warm and friendly, and makes them want to come back for more. Place includes great food; the feel of a community center; a beautiful, clean, and inspiring shopping experience; a great vibe delivered by a staff of 51%-ers who understand the power of hospitality.

An outstanding place to work
Super healthful, innovative, delicious food – we’ve never wavered from our standards!
Amazing hospitality
The most inviting place to shop and eat
Deep devotion to local farmers and producers
An educated staff
An active, vibrant role in our community

With that we’re happy to also announce some changes in our Leadership Team. Co-owner Nina Lesser-Goldsmith has transitioned from General Manager to the role of COO effective January 1st. This is a new position within the company, and general operations of the company’s two stores will be Nina’s primary focus. Fellow co-owner Eli Lesser-Goldsmith moves into the role of CEO. As CEO, Eli will work with Healthy Living’s internal Directors team (Finance, Operations, and Purchasing) plus external and newly formed Board of Directors.

We’d like to say thank you to our employees, vendors, and guests for getting us to where we are today. We’re excited to enter our fourth decade in business stronger than ever!

Our Story

In 1986, with absolutely no knowledge of business, I started a tiny market located in the Blue Mall, Dorset Street in South Burlington, Vermont. I had been an English teacher, a psychotherapist, a mother… so why not “branch out” into the world of groceries and business ownership (looking back, it seems crazy!)? One of my motivations for this decision was finding really good, clean food for my family.  I had been raised in a home where bread was baked, meals were made from scratch, and the enjoyment of food was very important.  Back in the 1980’s more and more processed foods were filling the shelves of supermarkets.  I truly wanted to feed my family differently, and different choices seemed very hard to come by. I also had memories of the food markets I knew growing up; I remembered them as community meeting places, where neighbors ran into each other in the aisles.  They seemed like much happier places to shop than the sterile, harshly lit supermarkets I visited each week.  So, why not own a tiny food market that was dedicated to exactly the kinds of things I was searching for?

Those first few (like 10) years were difficult and rocky for me, but my passion for good food, community, and the mysteries of business drove me on.  Fast forward to 2007 after a series of moves and expansions, I made a major leap and broke ground on a 35,000 square foot store.  By then my son, Eli, had decided to make Vermont home again, and after college came back to work with me to design and build the new Healthy Living.

Two years later my daughter, Nina, graduated from college and then culinary school, and joined us at Healthy Living. Nina brought energy and passion for learning and teaching, and founded the Healthy Living Learning Center, an innovative program of classes and demonstrations that help customers connect with their food through education. I now find myself working side-by-side with my kids, which is really a joy and makes Healthy Living a true family business.

What a journey it’s been!  I went from myself and one other person on staff to currently over 300, from 1,200 square feet to 35,000, from putting away the entire order by myself to having a team of grocery folks attacking it en masse, and from basically knowing zero about business to being pretty darn good at it! Our second store in Saratoga Springs, New York, opened in 2013 and our newest store in Williston, VT opened in 2021.  I find I still love the everyday routines, the customer interactions, the new product excitement, the seasonal changes, and the learning process. All I’ve learned over the years about running a business translates to taking care of people… delivering exceptional hospitality, which is, I believe, a good way to live!