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Low-key grocery store tackles downtown Mishawaka food desert

MISHAWAKA, Ind.—

Shoppers say there’s a hidden oasis in the heart of a food desert.

As developers continue conversations on bringing a grocery store to downtown Mishawaka, one low-key store has been providing fresh produce to neighbors for more than a decade.

“It’s the best kept secret as far as I’m concerned,” said Rose Quest shopper Mike Leippert. “I hope it won’t be a best kept secret anymore.”

Mike found out about this “secret” four months ago after looking for organic choices for his wife.

“You know organic foods, they’re hard to find these days,” he said “But it didn’t take long for me to figure out this is where I want to come for organic food.”

Other shoppers have been customers here for years.

“I started here in 2012,” said customer Cheryl Thompson. “It’s like a big family, sometimes it feels like Mayberry.”

Mayberry is a fictional town on the Andy Griffith Show.

Much like that town, everyone knows everyone at Rose Quest.

“You should know them, you should be able to greet them, you should be able to carry their groceries out to the car for them,” said owner Cynthia Harington.

You should also help them live healthier lives, according to Cynthia.

In addition to fresh food, Rose Quest offers nutritional counseling, massages and exercise.

On top of being a grocer, she serves as a nutritionist for this community, helping many overcome their health problems.

“I had gone through three rounds of chemotherapy for Leukemia, but it still hasn’t come back since 2009, and I came here and I thought, ‘well I’ll try it,’” said Thompson.

For Cheryl, a switch to organic goods is just what the doctor ordered.

“I’ve got my energy back and I’m eating more vegetables and more fruit,” said Thompson.

It’s a big step thanks to a tiny store.

“I really believe, people need to eat healthy to stay well,” said Harrington.

And this tiny store is delivering a huge service to a community that could use it.

“I’m supporting local business, I believe in this place,” said Leippert.

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