Coming to downtown Olympia in late April is a new “grab-and-go” deli: Peace, Love, and Raw, which is currently a wholesale business.
Everything on the menu is gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, vegan, and organic.
When the business opens, it will be selling an assortment of raw juices, smoothies, bars, and other simple snacks and desserts.
The deli’s products are reasonably priced, according to co-owner Nicole Harmell. The Harmell’s ideal vision for their business is to feed people like themselves, who want to buy healthy food but can’t spend $10 on a single bar. To create inexpensive prices they try to buy their ingredients in bulk.
Initially the deli’s products were drastically under-priced to make them affordable for everyone, but with retail mark-up prices and the extra time put into preparing the food, like sprouting and soaking all of the nuts, the cost increases.
Nicole said Peace, Love, and Raw was designed to be a safe place where people can enjoy food without worrying about toxins, chemicals, or contamination.
“One of the main motivators for us to open Peace, Love, and Raw was because there was no place we felt safe eating downtown; we couldn’t find anywhere that served really healthy, organic, gluten-free food,” said Nicole.
They want their store to be allergy-friendly, a place people can leave feeling energized and satisfied, said the owners.
The grab-and-go policy encourages people to enjoy their food outdoors with both Sylvester Park and Heritage Park nearby. The deli will be located on Legion Way between Columbia Street and Capitol Way.
“The passion my wife and I have for food and healthful living is going to be the key factor in making our business a success,” said Leland.
Not only is the idea of “raw, healthy” food really trending right now, but Olympia is the perfect locale for such a business because the market is full of people who are interested in health, wellness, fitness, and the community, according to Leland.
Olympia’s two nationally renowned co-ops are great for business at Peace, Love, and Raw, since it is both a deli and a wholesale business.
Already, the deli is gaining recognition for it’s RawNaimo bars, a chocolatey dessert.
According to Leland, the chocolate layer is 100 percent Raw Cacao, which is one of the highest sources of magnesium, a nutrient that Americans tend to be deficient in.
The Harmell’s use soaked and sprouted nuts, taking extra time and care to increase the bio-availability of the nutrients for their customers; and, they have many other healing ingredients throughout, including raw coconut oil, which is shown to protect people from viruses and bacteria, he said.
“The health benefits of our RawNaimo Bar are great and we can talk about them all day, but once you taste it, you’ll feel the peace and love,” said Leland.
“This is dessert you can feel good about. To us, this is the most effective health education,” he said.
“We want to foster an atmosphere of creativity and community in our deli, so anyone with an idea for our menu is welcome to share their thoughts; it’s my belief that we can make anything raw, we just need people to let us know what they want,” he said.
As the business gains momentum, their product line will expand to different types of
entrees such as sandwiches and soups.
A potential possibility is to open up another deli in Southern Oregon, where the sense of community is very similar to Olympia’s; and then later another store farther down the west coast, said Leland.
“If we have a vision of being bigger than we are today, then we’ll grow; and if we have passion, then we’ll grow fast,” he said.