Zubair Chaudhry used to be mocked for traveling a great distance and paying a high price for a loaf of organic bread.
“I studied herbs at Hagen University in Germany. When I was there, I used to take the bus to a nearby town to buy organic bread,” Chaudhry said. “The bus cost two marks and the bread cost five marks. My roommate used to call me stupid because it was costing me seven marks for bread.”
As an owner of a series of health food stores, most recently the new Back to Nature in the Chester Springs Shopping Mall, Chaudhry has made it possible for residents to get quality goods at reasonable prices, forgoing the ridicule and the bus trip.
“It didn’t bother me because I knew I was getting good quality bread,” Chaudhry said.
Chaudhry became interested in organic foods and environmental concerns as a member of Greenpeace. After studying in Germany, Chaudhry moved to the United States in 1992 and opened his first health food store in Pine Bush, New York. From there Chaudhry moved to Cape Coral Florida where he operated a Back to Nature market for 11 years.
“I moved back to this area because I missed having four seasons,” Chaudhry said. “And because I thought that I would try to keep Chester and the surrounding area young and healthy.”
The new Back to Nature location, which is situated near the Chester Starbucks, carries a large selection of vitamins and supplements as well as health foods and various all-natural products. Set up like a small market, Back to Nature features organic and gluten free items as well as bariatric support products and a small cooler section.
But the main event at the store is the organic juice bar. Stocked with fresh and homegrown ingredients, the Back to Nature juice bar offers a revitalizing and colorful smoothie or shot or wheatgrass that is almost as colorful as the person making them.
“This is my passion,” said Monica Sabo, who runs the juice bar at Back to Nature. “I am passionate about health and good food.”
Sabo said the best part of he job, besides the short commute from her home in Flanders, was working around likeminded people.
“Meeting new people that are also passionate about their health is one of the best things about this job,” Sabo said. “I’m serious, I think that is so cool.”
Sabo said her employment at the Back to Nature was serendipity.
“I was driving by and saw that the store was opening and I called the number,” Sabo said. “I really, really wanted this job.”
Once she met with Chaudhry, Sabo said things just clicked.
“You put it out there to the universe and it comes. I came in and met him. It wasn’t even a formal interview,” Sabo said. “There is no such thing as coincidences. And nothing beats experience and working with quality people where you learn from others.”
Sabo specializes in a variety of smoothie drinks and said that raising three kids to be healthy in our current society is a challenge.
“It is challenging. I believe that I have to still plant the seed and I won’t change my lifestyle because of the challenges,” Sabo said. “I do specialize in healthy snack compromises. I can recommend something comparable.”
And like Chaudhry, Sabo is thrilled to be in Chester.
“I did a call for the Food Network but it didn’t work out,” Sabo said. “And now I realize this is where I am meant to be and what I am meant to do.”
Back to Nature is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at 908-879-7555.