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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Go Organic in Berlin

BERLIN — After a few months of buzz about what is going on in the former peach shed, located just off Main Street in the municipal parking lot, Go Organic officially opened its doors late last month.
The shop, owned by Beth Gourley, is the result of a good idea getting enough traction to turn from a smaller home-based business into a retail establishment, and becoming more expansive and personal than originally planned.
Like an increasing number of people Gourley is part of the whole food, organic food movement. A staunch proponent of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The foundation supports more natural eating, reducing or eliminating the consumption of processed foods in favor of healthier more natural choices.
 Gourley had initially considered forming a buyers club, which is formed by a group of people who intend to make a purchase from the same distributor and tally their lists together to get a reduced price on the purchase, kind of like Sam’s Club or Costco except in this case with a particular commitment to whole foods. As the attempt to start a buyers club built steam, Gourley realized she would do well to start a store where members could pick up their goods and non-members could either join or make purchases without being a club member.
This idea matured into a new breed of animal altogether. Instead of starting something relying exclusively on the buyers club model or exclusive on the retail model, Gourley came up with a novel middle-ground solution.
Go Organic is structured in such a way that Gourley stocks the shelves based on retail supply and demand. Buyers club members get 20 percent off all their purchases, whatever they happen to be. In this way, there is still an incentive to join but for people who have not fully committed to an entirely organic diet, there remains the opportunity to purchase along those lines and do so while supporting small local business. Since she is a retailer, Gourley has access to special order products that are difficult for individual shoppers to get their hands on.
Finding the right place was a little more difficult than she had planned on. Right from the first, she said, Berlin Director of Community and Economic Development Michael Day suggested the peach shed. Gourley’s initial concern was that since it wasn’t technically on any street — the official address, 12 Artisan Way doesn’t come up on GPS or Google Maps — people would have difficulty finding the shop.
As Gourley researched other spaces in town friends and other merchants continued to suggest that the peach shed was a perfect location. She eventually came to see their point of view and now that the shop is set up her decision is well justified.
The rustic backdrop goes perfectly with a simpler way of living and eating, and the shed allows the store to be laid out in such a way that patrons can comfortably browse without ever being too far from the front to ask questions or get assistance.
Although Go Organic is primarily concerned with healthful eating, the store’s stock includes a lot of sustainable choices, not that the two are mutually exclusive. Meat, dairy and seafood products will often be locally sourced. Gourley is working with several local producers to ensure a reliable supply chain of everything from lobster to eggs.
Some products, however, are imported because of necessity or scarcity. Organic vegetables, for example, when they are not available locally as a result of the season, can still be procured from the organic distribution company with which she works.
In addition to food items, personal care products, such as toothpaste and deodorant, as well as cleaning products that are both organic and eco-friendly are among the other items she has access to as an organic outlet.