Simplynaturalliving owner Barbara Stange in the store’s new digs on Parkway Avenue. Photo by Diccon Hyatt.

Barbara Stange has only moved the simplynaturalliving health food store across the street to 1400 Parkway Ave., but there has been a major change in the shop’s offerings.

In addition to the traditional selection of vitamins, herbs and groceries, there is now a small restaurant in the back where you can get what Stange says is “the healthiest lunch in town.”

Stange said the new location in Serenity Plaza, near Marrazzo’s Thriftway was more convenient for her customers and also allowed a little more space for making lunch.

Among the menu items on offer one day last month was “Barbara’s Borscht” and other soups. Some are made in the store, while others are bought from the vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant. Most of them are gluten-free.

In addition to a regular menu of healthy sandwiches, wraps, salads and other lunch items, there might be unplanned “surprises” on the menu from day to day, Stange said.

“We might have stuffed portabellos or stuffed peppers,” Stange said. “We allow for a lot of creativity in the kitchen.”

There was fresh produce, and organic and vegan lunches available as well as a place to sit and eat them on top of a giant Chakra symbol painted by Stange’s brother. She is planning to decorate the area with an art exhibit soon, featuring paintings by Patricia Brown.

Like the floor paintings, the exhibit will focus on the eastern concept of Chakra. Sitting in the eatery, you’re sitting on a giant “Mandala” symbol.

Stange said some people recognize the decor, others don’t.

A divorced mother of three, Stange said she has run the store that has existed for seven years. She bought the business when the previous owner went to Tucson, Ariz.

“This is sort of my success story for women to know that they can do it if they have to.”

Stange said good customer service has helped her grow the business.

“It’s about caring people so they can care for themselves,” Stange said of her business philosophy.

To that end, she sometimes holds classes and special events like “holistic happy hour” every Friday.

Simplynaturalliving is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, call (609) 406-0818 or visit

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Diccon Hyatt is business editor of U.S. 1. He has worked for Community News since 2006 and was previously community editor of the Ewing Observer, the Hopewell Express, the Lawrence Gazette, and the Trenton Downtowner. From 2003 to 2006, he was a general assignment reporter for the Middletown Transcript in Middletown, Delaware. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Delaware, where he was features editor of the student newspaper, The Review. He has won numerous awards from the Maryland-Delaware D.C. Press Association and the Association of Free Community Newspapers for features, news, and opinion writing. He is married and lives in Marlton, NJ.