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Port City Organics

Ross Boissoneau - June 13th, 2011
Port City Organics:‘Real Food’ and a healthful message in Manistee
By Ross Boissoneau
If you’re looking for a magic potion, a fountain of youth, you’re pretty
much out of luck.
But if you’re looking for the best that man can currently offer in the way
of healthy foods, even massage or meditation, you’re in the right place.
That right place is Port City Organics Real Food Market & Wellness Center,
located at 321 1st Street in Manistee. There you’ll find organic and wild
foods and supplements, familiar names such as Food for Thought, Stone
House Bread, Pleasanton Brick Oven Bakery, Higher Grounds coffee.
“We call it a real food market – there’s no real definition of a natural
food or natural product,” said Joe Dumas, who along with his wife Lori
owns the operation.
While most patrons peruse the shelves, checking out the vitamins, soaps,
and various foodstuffs, the eastern part of the building is the wellness
center, complete with massage therapy and meditation. Dumas said adding
that to the food portion just made sense.

If the store looks the part of a drugstore, it comes by it naturally
enough. It served as such for over 100 years, and Dumas even has a photo
of his father exiting the original store. In fact, he credits his father
with stimulating his interest in a healthy diet.
“My father was an ironworker and a drinker, and he fell while putting up
some steel,” he recounted. “He was supposed to die, but he changed his
diet around.”
That change certainly impressed Dumas. And apparently it did his dad too,
who lived to be 89.
Those thoughts stayed with Dumas as he pondered what direction to take
when he lost his job due to the economic downturn, which affected Manistee
at least as much as anyplace else in Northern Michigan. Eventually he
decided that being a store owner had potential, and he and Lori closed the
store July 21, 2005, four years to the day after the photo of his Dad, and
opened the new location in April of last year.
Now he proudly strolls the aisles, pointing to favorite products and
favorite customers alike.
Quorn is one of those favorite products, a line of meat substitutes. “The
taste, texture, appearance. It’s healthy, it’s great.”
Another favorite is Bardic Wells Mead. “It’s from Whitehall. It’s
Michigan’s only licensed meadery,” he said.
Also coming in for praise is the Hilltop Soda Shoppe in Benzonia, which
provides ice cream to the store; Greek yogurt by Greek Gods; gluten-free
breads; Cream Cup Dairy, for its cheese curds.

Then there are organic dog and cat foods; vitamins and other supplements;
shampoos, conditioners, and body lotions from such companies as Avalon
Dumas says the goal of the store is to provide customers with alternatives
to the items one would find in a more traditional store, alternatives that
are both healthier and even taste better.
“There are no artificial additives. We’re trying to be as non-GMO
(genetically modified organisms) as possible,” Dumas said.
“What we’re offering are good foods and products.”
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