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Three Decades of Dedication

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Tidal Creek Co-op
30 Year Anniversary
Sat., 6/30 • FREE!

A lot can change in 30 years. Since 1982 Tidal Creek Foods, Inc., has evolved throughout the community, striking a chord with health-conscious consumers. What upstarted as a small group of individuals, all of whom endured a desire to eat and use natural nutritive products, the development of their “buying club” allowed them to order hard-to-find goods from the brand Tree of Life. At the time, the local buying club operated under the name of “Flat Country Co-op,” and saw its fair share of struggles as it worked to serve the community and promote the organic movement before it was popular.

Thanks to books, such as Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” and an increasing concern about what people were consuming—and the negative side-effects processed foods had—endeavors such as Flat Country Co-op and a neighboring cooperative, Wilmington’s Natural Foods Co-op, planted its roots along our coastal town. Each conjoined as Flat Country bought out Wilmington Natural Foods and eventually merged into a single market, which we know today as Tidal Creek Cooperative (its moniker courtesy of one of Wilmington’s many tidal streams nearby).

Established as a non-profit and owned by its members, Tidal Creek transformed into an organization where members pay dues, and work to maintain the integrity of the store and receive discounts on goods. Open to the general public, Tidal Creek sells atypical foods in an idiosyncratic atmosphere conducive to building stronger communities through events, workshops and programs, such as “How to Shop Bulk,” “How to Eat Organic on a Budget” and “Eating Raw.”

Over the years, the market has expanded into a hub of organic living, locally pioneering the bandwagon of labels—“hormone free,” “gluten free,” “free-range”—seen at national grocers. They also remain purveyors of local and regional products, such as Wilmington’s very own Angela’s Pickled Peppers, Luna Pops, produce from Black River and Red Beard farms, among lotions and balms from Green Goddess Essentials and goat soap from Nature’s Way.

Tidal Creek’s grassroot beginnings keep it endearing among Wilmington shoppers. Having moved twice since its inception and into larger venues, including its current 5,000 square foot store off Oleander, it outgrows any average supermarket and becomes a quirky grocer, café, bakery and vitamin shop folks have grown to respect.

General manager Craig Harris says the biggest challenge for Tidal Creek in the coming years will be competing with the larger chains that begin to homogenize Wilmington. He remains hopeful in Tidal Creek’s continued goal to encourage local, healthful living.

“For the past 30 years, Tidal Creek has been a trusted source for all-natural products,” he says. “We care about our customers and the community. Tidal Creek will continue to look for creative and innovative opportunities to grow and reach more people who care about their health, family and the area they live in.”

On June 30th, Tidal Creek will celebrate its 30th anniversary with games, raffles, Tofurky dog-eating contest, music, mustaches, and an astounding 50-pound blueberry pie made by Tidal Creek’s neighbor, Great Harvest Bread Company, with local blueberries from Red Beard Farm.

The fun kicks off at 12 p.m. with a cakewalk and a blend of rock, folk and funk music played by local musician Mark Herbert. Raffles will be dispersed throughout the afternoon—some of the featured items include a Nook, a guitar from Tony’s Guitars, a $75 Visa gift card, beach bags filled with summer gear, spa certificates, a free yoga class at Wilmington Yoga Center, gift certificates from local restaurants and more.

At 2:30 p.m., things will get a little hairy as Tidal Creek sponsors a facial hair contest. According to Harris, mustaches will be judged based on general girth, grooming, originality, sophistication, overall manliness and other notable attributes. Beards, mustaches, goatees and sideburns all count.

After more raffles and tunes from Raphael Narné, Jason Andre and Steve Shroeder, Tidal Creek will beckon veggie and vegan foodies with their Tofurky dog-eating contest. Limited to eight brave people, contestants must be signed up before 3 p.m. on June 30th. Dunking and/or separating the dogs and buns is allowed. Whoever eats 12 Tofurky dogs first—or whomever has eaten the most franks in five minutes—will be crowned king or queen. Winners of both contests will win T-shirts, trophies and gift cards.

“I hope that attendees take away some great memories, many laughs and an appreciation of one of Wilmington’s local institutions,” Harris says. “There is only one co-op, and we want to continue to be a trusted source in this community.”

Complete Schedule of Events:

12 noon: Kick Off
12:30 p.m.: Music with Mark Herbert
1 p.m. Cake walk
1:30 p.m. Raffle
2 p.m. Cake walk
2:15 p.m. Music with Raphael Narné
2:30 p.m. Beard contest
3 p.m. Cake walk
3:30 p.m. Raffle
3:45 p.m. Music with Jason Andre
4 p.m. Cake walk
4:30 p.m. Tofurky Dog Eating
5 p.m. Cake walk
5:30 p.m. Raffle
6 p.m. Close

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