Photo of Mulligatawny Soup at Rainbow Natural Foods in Decatur.
Photo: Charlotte B. Teagle/AJC file photo
Photo: Charlotte B. Teagle/AJC file photo

Rainbow Natural Foods to close in Decatur after 42 years

Long before Whole Foods opened its first Atlanta location, there was Rainbow Natural Foods.

One of Atlanta’s first stores dedicated to selling health food and organic products is planning to close its doors after 42 years at 2118 North Decatur Road next month, Decaturish reports.

A representative for the business told the AJC via email that the reason for the closure came down to the changing landscape.

“We felt with the locally increased competition of chain stores that it was not advisable for us to renew our lease as the risk has become to great.” The store’s lease is up on March 31.

To celebrate its years in business, Rainbow is offering all customers its employee discount of 10 percent through its closing, and is planning other farewell events. 

In addition to selling a variety of natural products, supplements and groceries, Rainbow also offers a deli and hot bar featuring dishes such as spaghetti, pizza and veggie frittata.

Tony Castaldi and business partner James Emerson opened Rainbow in 1976 “to meet a real need in the market,” according to a 2006 AJC story by Margie Fishman marking the store’s 30th anniversary. 

Fishman wrote, “Emerson, who worked in the building materials business, approached Castaldi, then a 20-year-old student at Atlanta Technical College, about partnering in natural foods, since the two shared similar eating philosophies. During Rainbow's early years, Castaldi worked for a local window manufacturer to gain management experience. Eventually, he and Emerson became associated with 14 natural food stores across the country. Many were later sold to competitors who shut them down. Rainbow, their baby, remained.”

The AJC has reached out to Rainbow for more details.

Want to try making some of Rainbow’s hot dishes at home? Check out these recipes for Cold Sesame Noodles and Polenta Florentine.


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