|Christina Spoltore at the register.|
DO YOU KNOW THAT Waldorf does have a health food store? It’s the area’s best kept secret that one has been calling Waldorf home for more than thirty years, selling such things as organic juice, vegetarian meat alternatives, vitamin and herbal supplements and all-natural cosmetics. Perhaps it’s overlooked because the name Country Nutrition conjures up daydreams of fried chicken and biscuits with gravy. You might find something akin to that here, but it would definitely be vegetarian, organic and free of trans-fat.
Long-time accountant Donald Armentrout was looking to start a business with his wife, Evelyn. The answer came from a friend and former business partner, Russ Stith, who owned a health food store in Vienna Virginia. Stith encouraged the purchase by telling them that you couldn’t ask for better customers than the type that the business attracted.
For a short while, the family owned a deli, as well. But, their location tucked away in the Old Line Center and the center’s less than fully occupied main professional building nearby made for very slow business. They closed down the deli and added that space to the more productive health food store.
The store is a family affair. The Armentrouts’ daughter, Christina Spoltore and her children all work there. She told me, “It’s a rite of passage. When you’re ten you get to run the register.”
At one point Christina left the area and had a lucrative career as an administrative assistant for a government contractor in Fairfax, Virginia. But when the commute became too much, her mother took the chance to ask her back to the family business. Christina hasn’t regretted her decision. She likes the short commute, working with health food products, and especially working with her family.
She has many ideas for improving the store. A few of her ideas are easy to spot. The vintage refrigerators, which look like they’re from the 1970s, are covered in condensation. Also, the less than state-of-the-art bulk goods section is quite small and not especially user-friendly.
But improvements aside, Country Nutrition has quite a lot to offer its customers. The store is positively stuffed with a usefully large variety of products to help your whole family stay fit. The Armentrouts make sure plenty of products show from every angle of the store. The space is small, but lots of natural light and plenty of friendly smiles make it quite bright enough to find exactly what you need. In fact, Country Nutrition’s main advantage over, say, a franchise supplement store has to be its friendly, knowledgeable employees.
Because this family lives locally, they are part of the community and aware of the nutritional challenges people in our area face. They know that the local commuter lifestyle needs convenience food (like cereal bars and crackers) without the high fructose corn syru