The last place on earth you’d think you’d be able to find organic, natural foods or gourmet items would be in a town of 1000 residents in southern Utah. Yet, you’ll find all this and more at Sol Foods in Springdale, Utah; a small community located at the entrance of Zion National Park.

Sol Food’s owners, Max Gregoric and his wife Julie, moved to Springdale 12 years ago. And though neither one has a background in the grocery business, they soon found themselves running the only market in town. The store, located in a 4000-square-foot space, had been floundering because the previous owners didn’t understand the market. In the peak season, Europeans make up at least 50% of the visitors to Zion National Park-and Europeans have a much different criteria for food shopping than Americans. So, Max and Julie added organic and natural foods, gourmet cheeses, baked breads, and a salad bar to the little market. They knew it was important to offer some healthy options for visitors who would be hiking all day. Sales doubled the first year and continued to significantly increase each year until they completely outgrew the space.

The decision was made to build a bigger store. For financing, they looked to an SBA 504 loan from Mountain West Small Business Finance. With the financing process made easy, the next step was construction. Max, a contractor by trade, worked closely with the architect and the couple used local builders, taking advantage of an eager workforce in a tough economy to build the 10,800-square-foot store that is beautiful, functional, and super energy efficient.

Inside, you’ll find a state-of-the-art market with a large salad bar, meat department, and full kitchen. Max’s best friend from New York City moved to Springdale to be the chef, providing homemade salads, soups, and other meals from scratch. Besides the food, if you glance up at the windows that line one side of the market, you’ll have perfectly framed the awesome beauty of Zion National Park. The sight of the Park’s majestic cliffs rising high into the sky directly behind the building will convince you that Sol Foods is the most scenic grocery store on the planet.