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Michael Kanter & Elizabeth Stagl FOUNDERS AND OWNERS, CAMBRIDGE NATURALS

he natural foods movement may be booming today, but there wasn’t much of a movement to speak of in the United States—let alone in the Boston area—when the husband and wife team of Michael Kanter and Elizabeth Stagl opened Cambridge Naturals in 1974. “We were what we call the pioneers,” Stagl jokes. “We were the lead wagon train that went out West when there weren’t cities and towns there.” As anyone who’s studied American history (or played “Oregon Trail”) knows, the first wagon trains to forge a path out West were also the ones most likely to meet a tragic end. Kanter and Stagl were only 22 when Cambridge Naturals opened its doors and had little business experience between them—in fact, Kanter had studied history in college. So how has the pair been able to keep their business afloat while scores of other natural foods shops in the Cambridge area (including Organic Food Cellar and Erewhon Trading Company, among others) have come and gone? “We never rest on our laurels,” Kanter says. “We have friends who are performers, and they could have a great show, but then, you know, they go on to the next show. It’s like every day for us is a show.” The pair works to find the best new products and prides themselves on offering outstanding customer service. They also work closely with area organizations like Community Cooks and Cambridge Local First (where Michael is a board member), and they are committed to paying their employees a fair wage. At the end of the day, they’re mostly just happy that the causes that are important to them have resonated with people in the Greater Boston area. “It’s nice to earn a living doing something we believe in,” says Kanter.

scoutcambridge.com July | August 2015

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Profile for Scout Magazines

Scout Cambridge July/August 2015  

We profile over a dozen neighborhood folks over 40 who are rocking it, plus a look at the many tiny parks around the city.

Scout Cambridge July/August 2015  

We profile over a dozen neighborhood folks over 40 who are rocking it, plus a look at the many tiny parks around the city.

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