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Health Nutz to offer organics on Public Square

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Burn calories at the gym, then reward your efforts with a tasty organic snack: maybe a squeezable packet of apple-cinnamon sauce or roasted seaweed seeds.

Sandra D. DeLong has named her store Health Nutz, at 20 Public Square. She hopes to lure Watertown Family YMCA members zeroing in on organic food to stay fit. To open the first week of May, the store will offer a range of locally produced food that’s free of preservatives and artificial dyes. Lining the shelves will be granola and fruit bars, fresh-picked blueberries, dried fruit, jams, honey, spices, soup and pasta. Parents will notice boxes of fruit snacks and organic teddy bear cookies.

“I think it’s really important for people to buy local,” Mrs. DeLong said Friday while arranging inventory with her 25-year-old daughter, Holly A. “Organic and natural foods cost a little bit more, but I don’t think people mind spending because the money stays local. We want to fill our bins with fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The 47-year-old entrepreneur has big plans for the quaint, 400-square-foot space. She plans to add inventory frequently by partnering with local businesses and farms.

At the planned organic coffee bar, customers can purchase hot drinks in special cups made only from renewable resources. Healthful drinks in the store’s cooler will include vitamin and coconut water and organic tea. Miss DeLong, who’s studying information technology at SUNY Delhi, helped her mother track down the latest organic products on the market.

She also will use her know-how to launch a website and Facebook page to market the business. She and her college friends often buy organic food to maintain a healthful diet, snacking on organic pears and dried fruit between classes.

“I try to eat organic whenever I can,” she said, although sometimes finding it is a challenge. “It’s more expensive and doesn’t last as long without artificial ingredients, which makes it harder to transport.”

Mrs. DeLong, who recently joined the Downtown Business Association, said she’s always liked shopping downtown. Her family enjoys riding motorcycles across the Canadian border to Kingston during the summer to visit downtown shops. Commenting on the handful of shops that opened in the past year, she said, “I think it’s up and coming here.”

Health Nutz will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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