A ‘berry’ specialized venture

Specialty food market offers convenience and variety for those with special dietary needs

Some may not be able to stomach the thought of special diet foods, but for others it’s a way of life, as they cannot eat traditionally prepared foods, period. Harold and Dee Sandquist have opened a business specifically for people that must follow certain diets. In particular the store caters to those who have wheat allergies and/or intolerance to gluten, a protein found in foods containing wheat, rye, barley and oats.

From bread to beer, Lingonberries has a wide variety of food items for those on gluten-free and wheat-free diets.

The Sandquists opened their 1,200-square-foot location in January. A specialty low-carb market had previously occupied the space, so the store was appropriately configured and had refrigeration in place.

Dee Sandquist is a registered dietician and follows a gluten-free diet. She is the Portland area spokesperson for The American Dietetic Association and is a member of the ADA taskforce for the National Evidence Analysis Project for the gluten-free diet. Sandquist has presented programs on celiac disease, the gluten-free diet and diabetes nationally to physicians, dietitians, diabetes educators, and the public.

The Sandquists know the challenge of sorting through large grocery stores to find gluten-free products.

"It became apparent there is a need for a gluten-free store," said Harold Sandquist.

The store aims to simplify shopping and provide greater variety to people on specialized diets. Their assortment also includes dairy-free, organic and allergy-friendly foods.

"The products are available at other stores, but you have to sort through a lot to find what you need," said Sandquist.

Breads and baking mixes tend to be the most popular items, he said.

The couple chose the store’s name to honor their Scandinavian backgrounds – Lingonberries are popular in that region – and set it apart.

The business has performed ahead of expectations in its first six months. The next step will be adding internet sales this month.

Lingonberries Market

Owners Harold and Dee Sandquist
6300 Northeast 117th Ave., Suite B-5
Vancouver
360-260-4411

www.lingonberriesmarket.com

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