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Nature’s Oasis café and local food market to open second location in Van Aken District

October 25, 2018

Nature’s Oasis café and local food market to open second location in Van Aken District

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio - Nearly two years ago, Elliott Endsley opened the doors Nature’s Oasis, his local grocery shop and cafe in Lakewood. It was always his hope to expand, he says, and now that vision is coming to fruition. In early 2019, he’ll bring his second location to the Van Aken District development in Shaker Heights.

“I’ve been looking for a while and the Van Aken project is really exciting,” Endsley says. “The developers have put together tenants that are really focused on local. I think they’re building a community, not just another shopping center. Since we focus on local goods in our market and local ingredients in our cafe, it just seemed to make a perfect fit.”

Nature’s Oasis joins Van Aken’s roster of tenants such as Banter, Restore Cold Press, Mitchell’s Ice Cream and On The Rise, among others. Read more about the project and its retail and food here. 

At about 5,400-square-feet, Endsley will be doubling the size of the location. Expect that to mean a larger grocery selection. The store currently works with around 200 Ohio-based vendors. 

“We’ll be able to offer more of a place that people can do their weekly grocery shopping,” Endsley says.

That goes hand-in-hand with bringing local products to a new audience, as Endsley explained in 2016 ahead of his grand opening.

“We’re really focusing on telling the stories of the local brands,” he said. “It lets them know they’re supporting the local economy. Our goal is to grow the Northeast Ohio market, and the only way to do that is draw attention to those products. We want to make it more of an experience for the customer than just grabbing groceries or a coffee.”

The café has become a bustling part of the Lakewood shop, and that will carry over to Van Aken with favorites like coffee, smoothies, wraps and sandwiches. In Lakewood, Nature’s Oasis has found a hit with offerings like a pesto chicken sandwich and the “B.E.A.S.T” breakfast sandwich with bacon, egg whites, avocado, spinach and tomato. The berry basil and goat cheese panini taps vendors like Mackenzie Creamery, Honeyrun Farm and Breadsmith.

The past years have given them a chance to tweak the menu and experiment with new things. That includes an increased dedication to crafting dishes for those with specialty diets.

“We really ramped up vegan and vegetarian items in our market and café,” Endsley says. “From the day we opened, we’ve focused a lot on people with dietary restrictions, whether vegan or vegetarian by choice or various food allergies. When customers think about our store, if they have any dietary restrictions, we want them to know we’ll go out of our way to serve them.” 

The Van Aken opening is just the next chapter in the store’s growing momentum. Since opening, they’ve doubled their staff. Endsley credits it in part to being embraced by the city, something he hopes to recreate next year.

“It’s been a great start,” Endsley says. “Lakewood’s been really supportive of our business. I think Shaker Heights will do the same thing. It just makes sense to get more communities involved.”