Native Sun expands to Jacksonville Beach

Doors open Sept. 19 at 3rd Street location


Long-time locals will recognize the spot as a former Blockbuster Video location—but the new building is completely unrecognizable after a top-to-bottom remodel.

The Saturday grand opening event will begin at 10 a.m. and will offer $50 of free groceries to the first 250 customers in addition to sampling, representatives from local farms and product providers and other in-store events.

The new store has brought 50 jobs to the Beaches. Just like other locations on Baymeadows Rd. and San Jose Blvd., the Third St. location will offer family-friendly events year-round.

Native Sun was founded by Jacksonville native Aaron Gottlieb in 1996—and Gottlieb remains very hands-on at all locations. Gottlieb said that the expansion into Jacksonville Beach was a natural for the company.

“The grocery business is a neighborhood business,” Gottlieb said. “We were glad to come to Jacksonville before it had natural foods—but the Beaches have always been a goal. The Beach has just been calling. I’ve been looking and looking.”

Gottlieb said that in planning the new location, they went to customers for feedback on what Native Sun could improve.

“We’ve learned as we expanded our food service at the Baymeadows location that people wanted more natural foods solutions to quick meals,” Gottlieb said. “We have a whole different footprint at the beach. Our deli is actually a section of the store with a seating area and registers built into the area. It’s two-sided—one side is self-serve and one side is full serve. Now is it more of a food destination to sit down and eat.”

When the first store opened in 1996, Native Sun was the only option for shoppers who wanted to purchase organic groceries. Now that many chain supermarkets offer organic options, Gottlieb says that Native Sun customers return because of the high standards and responsiveness offered by the grocery store.

“We offer only organic produce, grass-fed beef, and dairy products free of synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics not because we hope to capitalize on their current popularity, but because we consider these items essential to a healthy lifestyle.”

After its grand opening, Native Sun in Jacksonville Beach will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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— Kelly H. McDermott