Commercial Real Estate

It comes naturally: Local health food store prepares for new chapter in new space

By Stephanie Meador, posted 3 weeks ago
Two of the trio behind Apple Crate Naturals Allison Davis (left) and Brenda Harris (right) stand in the future Apple Crate Naturals store space, currently under construction.

Family-owned business Apple Crate Naturals has been a staple in the community for 27 years now, providing customers with healthy, natural alternatives that can’t be found at other retail chains. 

Opened in 1997 by Brenda Harris, the business’s humble beginnings as a modest 800-square-foot store in Hope Mills evolved into two locations in Hope Mills and Fayetteville. Along the way Harris’s daughters, Emily and Allison Davis, began to play a larger role in the endeavor and continue the mission their mother started. Now, the mother-daughter trio is ready for the next big step.

The Apple Crate Naturals team is in the process of consolidating their Camden Road and Raeford Road locations to one larger store on Sycamore Dairy Road. The new 8,500-square-foot store will offer the natural products customers know and love, organic produce, made-to-order food and a wide selection of beer and wine. 

“Our current stores are fairly small. Raeford Road is about 2800 square feet. Our new location is 8500 square feet, so it’s a big jump for us,” shared Allison Davis, General Manager of Apple Crate Naturals. 

This new, larger location will allow the business to expand their offerings to the community. 

“We really wanted to bring more local food to Fayetteville, reach out to different farmers and support our local farming community as much as we could. So we’re really expanding our food section,” shared Davis.

New food items will include a hot bar with soup every day, made-to-order sandwiches, coffee, tea and smoothies, all of which will be made with ingredients that uphold the strict standards of the business. 

Customers can feel comfortable knowing they’re being served humanely raised meat, organic fresh produce and dishes made without seed oils. 

“We have taken a lot of pride and [shown] a lot of dedication to sourcing all those ingredients that really fit the mission of the store and to be as healthy and conscious as possible,” remarked Davis. 

The space for the new store used to be home to a club called The Speakeasy. 

“We wanted to upgrade something. We wanted to beautify something that once lived before [and] bring it back to life. And we completely restored everything. Everything but basically the walls that hold it up have been redone and restored,” explained Davis. 

Davis shared that they are about 90% done with their restoration of the new location and plan to open the store later this summer. 

“It’s really impressive, just how different it looks. You see it on the mock-ups, and you see it on the plans, and you pick all the paint colors, but to really see it come together is–it’s really been an incredible experience. And, we just can’t wait for the community to see it,” shared Davis.

By the time she was an adult, Davis already had a good amount of work experience under her belt. 

“I’ve technically been on payroll since 2004,” shared Davis. 

Davis worked for the store in middle and high school. Once she and her sister both had finished school they began to consider their career path options. 

“You know, we've been doing it our whole lives, so only the short amount of time that we went away to school was really the only time that we haven't worked there. We’ve both had some other jobs over the years, but this has been our primary focus of our entire life.” 

From being homeschooled as children in the back of the store to pricing supplements and putting in the work from a young age, the path seemed clear to the sisters. 

“My sister and I finished school around 2008 - 2009 when the economy was not doing super great and there weren’t a ton of job opportunities. But the business had been slowly but steadily growing in that time frame. And [we] kind of looked at our options at this time, and we’re like, let’s go with the thing that we’ve put the most work into.” 

The sisters stepped up to join their mother in running the business and taking it to the next level. 

“We kind of all came together and implemented a new point of sales system and different training programs and stuff like that to become more organized and to really lay the groundwork for being able to grow. It’s been a slow and very long process. We’re finally here, and we’re really excited for the next chapter of this,” added Davis.

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The business’s new address will be 3983 Sycamore Dairy Road Fayetteville, NC 28303. Community members can keep up with Apple Crate Naturals and their new chapter by following them on Facebook: Apple Crate Naturals and on Instagram @applecratenaturals. Additional information about the business can be found on their website: www.applecratenaturals.com

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