For those trying to cure a cold or reduce stress Rainbow Natural Remedies’ 20th-anniversary celebration might be their cup of tea. This weekend, owners Ross and Patricia Kling are giving Rainbow patrons free samples, demonstrations, readings and raffles.
While this might be the Rainbow Natural Remedies 20th birthday, its history stretches back even further to when the Klings first opened Rainbow Grocery in the 1980s, making it one of Seattle’s first natural food markets.
In 1996, the couple was presented with the opportunity to do more.
“At that time customers were coming in and asking our grocery stockers important health questions,” Ross Kling said. “And the stockers didn’t have the knowledge and the pace of the grocery store was such that it wasn’t conducive to having that kind of conversation.”
Kling got the idea for a natural remedies shop that would provide customers with more time to speak to employees, including naturopaths, to determine what might best alleviate their ailments whether it was a cold, the flu, trouble sleeping, stress, or something else.
So the Klings opened Rainbow Natural Remedies at 409 15th Ave E. The grocery remained open until 2001 when natural and organic groceries started becoming more of a common sight.
“Mainly what I wanted was a place where people could come in and talk about their health issues,” Kling said.
Customers can chat with employees about their issues, and while the staff doesn’t provide diagnoses or prescriptions, they do provide information and assist people with choosing a remedy.
The shop has a variety of customers from millennials feeling the effects of growing up, to new parents, to baby boomers entering their golden years, and many of their customers have been long-time patrons.
Rainbow celebrating 20 years is reflective of the 15th Ave E commercial village, Kling said. Many businesses have been around for years as have the area residents and shoppers.
“It’s quite a, dare I say, self-contained neighborhood in Capitol Hill,” Kling said. “It’s probably less transient than some of the other neighborhood and it’s gone through less of a metamorphosis over the years.”
Kling has served as director of the 15th Ave E Merchants Association, a group formed to help address business needs in the neighborhood.
There are changes of course — and some of the largest have to do with things you ingest to feel better. While it’s not on the same scale as the development that brought Walgreens to the street, the impending opening of newcomer marijuana retailer Uncle Ike’s will bring more change to 15th Ave E. But there is a true 15th Ave E twist, of course — Uncle Ike’s opening will coincide with a new storefront for longtime neighborhood business Angel’s Shoe Repair. “I think it’s long overdue,” Kling told CHS in 2014 about the arrival of legal pot shops on the street. “It will just be another business on our diverse block of businesses.” Once Ike’s opens, the neighborhood, of course, will end up with two marijuana businesses. Ruckus opened in late 2015.
Kling says he attributes Rainbow’s longevity to trying new things and keeping up with what customers are interested in — including focusing on local products, improving the quality of staff and changing product selections. Another thing that sets the Rainbow apart is its own tea blends.
Rainbow also has a clinic with naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists and a massage therapist. In its educational resource room, they hold about two classes weekly that range in topics from herbal knowledge to seasonal care.
Rainbow also provides more than an ecommerce provider by having knowledgeable staff members and a sense of community that can’t be found online, Kling said.
In the next few years, Kling would like to expand on medicinal teas, and the Rainbow Juice Bar is always in his heart, which is something customers really miss about the grocery store, he said.
Rainbow Natural Remedies is celebrating its 20th anniversary Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM. The shop is located at 409 15th Ave E. You can learn more at rainbownatural.com.