Garner’s Natural Life: A Healthy Resource for the Upstate
If you think Garner’s Natural Life is a Greenville fixture, you would be right. Originally named Garner’s Natural Foods, the business was started by Coral Garner in 1969 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at Westgate Mall. Coral began by selling her homemade banana bread along with other small household items out of the back of a 750-foot trailer. Meanwhile, her son Robin, who was visiting Florida, discovered he had a passion for natural heath. Coral decided to invest in his passion, and the two began selling a small assortment of natural foods and supplements. This turned out to be a hit. Customers raved about the delicious banana bread and unique health food items the store offered.
It was around that time that Coral was approached with the opportunity to open her own store. Together with Robin, the two moved out of the trailer and into a storefront in Westgate Mall in Spartanburg, and the family’s business was born. Within several years, son Orin Garner and his wife Linda joined the family business. The couple still operate Garner’s Natural Foods store in Spartanburg.
As the community’s interest in natural health began to grow in popularity, the family decided to open their second location in Greenville, in McAllister Square. Candace Garner, who married Robin in 1978, joined the family business. Candace grew up in Elyria, Ohio, and majored in transportation and logistics at Kent State University.
As the business and the family grew, so did the store’s location. In 1996, Garners Natural Market and Café moved into a 25,000 square foot location, and would eventually expand into a full-sized natural market, with an organic café, produce and bakery, along with the ever-growing supplement and vitamin selection with over 60 employees.
In 2007, the operation and management of Garner’s transitioned to Candace. It was at that time she felt the need to re-evaluate the entire operation. A year later, Candace Garner and her children decided it was time to get back to their roots, and opened their current location on Pleasantburg Drive with a new name—Garner’s Natural Life—and new goal. With a smaller storefront, Garner’s Natural Life was able to be more focused on herbs, vitamins, supplements and skin care, including over 9,000 products. As demand grew, Candace decided to add a second location in Columbia, South Carolina. Within only two years, it was time to grow again with a third location in 2010 next to the Fresh Market on Woodruff Road in Greenville. Today, there are two Garner’s Natural Life locations in Greenville, and a third in Columbia.
Even through decades of growth, Garner’s continues to specialize in educating their employees and the community on natural health, at the same time staying true to their roots as a family-owned business. Garner’s employs over 30 people throughout their locations, with certified natural health professionals on staff. Giving back to the community that supported them from the start is an important factor. Candace Garner, who was named Retailer of the Year in 2015, says her mission has always been to provide “world-class customer service and education, while offering superior health products in a fun and friendly shopping environment.”
Garner’s Natural Life is located at 27 S. Pleasantburg Dr. and 1601 Woodruff Rd., in Greenville, and at 4840 Forest Dr., Ste 15A, in Columbia. For more information, visit GarnersNaturalLife.com or call 864-242-4856.