Letter From the Isely's - March 2021

Promise yourself to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.  –The Optimist Creed


Isely Letter March

She looms larger than life in my memory, which isn’t surprising. She was a whirlwind of feel-good things, from her bright red lipstick to her fondness for dark chocolate. She loved rousing discussions, family dinners, and welcoming those who didn’t have family nearby to call their own. Her laughter was big like her opinions, while her hugs were the coziest of comforters on a frosty night. She believed that “you can never spoil a child,” and if there were a recipe for grandma’s, hers would get five-star reviews.


A long time has passed since her smile brought warmth to my day, but the impression my grandmother, Margaret Isely, left on me hasn’t faded. The incredible thing is, she lives up to the legend in the hearts and memories of everyone who knew her. I think her daughter said it best: “Margaret was presence. She lived the life that made a difference.”


It’s Women’s History Month, and for our family and Natural Grocers that means celebrating the spirit of the woman who helped start it all. Margaret Isely—the legend, co-founder, mother, grandmother, and everyday woman. She lives in the details of Natural Grocers, in the history that makes us who we are today.


When we talk about our dedication to Nutrition Education, she ignited the passion. She taught us that nutrition is the foundation for wellbeing, and knowledge about it is one of the most important gifts you can give. When we talk about our commitment to community, she planted the seeds, passing along her Irish ancestors’ motto: “Ours is to share.” When we say that some of our unique Crew benefits, like Birthday Bonus Pay and Vitamin Bucks, are inspired by things she used to do, these aren’t just things we say. They come from an authentic place, from a woman who led with her heart, who was always herself— compassionate, innovative, wise, and filled with love for all people and the planet.


She’s the reason we’re willing to get a little more personal now and then, in a letter like this, because everybody deserves to know someone like Margaret. People felt they mattered; that was the message she always expressed. What you do matters, who you are matters. You are worthy of love and belonging.


To the Margarets in all our lives… Happy March!