By Anne Alvarez
Rainbow Acres health food store recently celebrated its 33rd anniversary. It was no small feat for owner, Howard Pollack, who in 1980 decided to lease 1200 square feet on the corner of Washington and Redwood, opening one of the first health food stores in the area.
The store has recently expanded to over 14,000 square feet, and has been called the largest independent natural food distributor in the country. They carry their own line of vitamins and teas. Asked how he has been able to grow with competitors like Whole Foods Market nearby, Pollack says it is not a competition. What his store has to offer in customer service and quality speaks for itself. “We make most of our prepared foods in-house. This includes our soups and chili, made fresh daily. The smoothie and juice bar are extensive, and the prices are reasonable. “As a matter of fact, when the Whole Foods located on
Rose & Venice was going through the process of establishing a store, Pollack spoke on their behalf, encouraging local council members to approve the project, because it would bring a healthy awareness to the community.
Bonnie Ji, a store regular, said “I find that this place is a great asset to community members who prefer to support the local cottage industry, as opposed to the Wal-Marts of health food.” Most of the core management team has been with the store between 12 and 30 years, including Pollack’s two daughters and son. This is, after all, a family business. Ramon Marron, who has been working at the store as a manager for nine years, says, “This
store is like his second family. I enjoy coming into work.”
Throughout the store when I asked employees what they thought about their job, the response was similar. Cashier Mark Alvarez said, ” I love this place. It’s fun working here. I love the people, both the customers and my employers.” Trina M., also a cashier, said, “What I like the most are the people that come in. They are so warm and down to earth, with a no-one-is-better-than-anyone attitude.”
Pollack is highly involved with the Venice community, supporting and sponsoring local schools during fundraisers and special events, whether by donating food or gift baskets for raffles being held. Pollack has received many awards through the years for his business ethics and community involvement. He has been President of the Rotary Club of Venice, has served on the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a supporter of the
Venice Boys and Girls club.
Rainbow Acres is located at 13208 W. Washington Blvd