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Greater Grain - Racine's first gluten-free food store

Just two months after moving into their newly renovated, 52,000-square foot building at 4811 Washington Ave., Racine, Career Industries announced the upcoming opening of Greater Grain Gluten-Free Goods, Racine’s first store to offer primarily gluten-free foods.

The 1,000 square-foot store opens Thursday, March 1 and will sell other specialty items including grass-fed organic beef, organic chicken and Alaskan salmon. In addition to serving the growing demand for more gluten-free and natural food offerings, the store will provide job training and employment for persons with disabilities. Combined, the store exemplifies Careers Industries’ mission to contribute to the well-being of the broader community and economy through the work and volunteer service their participants perform for area businesses and non-profit organizations.

“While we are coming off of a successful 40th year, we still face the threat of more budget cuts in this uncertain economy. We’ve been actively pursuing additional business opportunities for our participants that will both increase their wages and add to our bottom line,” said Careers Industries Executive Director Joe Greene. “We believe this specialty store is the perfect way to achieve those goals while benefiting the surrounding community at the same time.”

There are an estimated two million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, including Greene’s wife. Plus there are many more that simply have some level of gluten-intolerance or a desire to eat foods that emphasize gluten-free grains over refined wheat. That’s why the market and demand for gluten-free foods and beverages in the United States has grown to more than $6 billion in sales as of September 2011. That’s according to SPINS, a market research and consulting firm for the Natural Products Industry. Other experts predict a 10 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the category.

To meet the growing demand, most grocery stores now carry some gluten-free products but Racine County has a limited selection and availability. Consumers who need or want to purchase gluten-free often must travel longer distances or go to several different locations to meet their needs. For example, Greene and his wife often shop in Milwaukee’s west suburbs for their gluten-free goods. The opening of Greater Grain Gluten-Free Goods will offer a convenient Racine-area option while also providing customers the opportunity to support Career Industries with every purchase. “We think that Greater Grain purchases will be good for the body and good for the soul as store profits will be an additional source of revenue that helps us continue to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities,” said Greene. “The local business community and people of Racine have been such wonderful supporters of ours for 40 years, so we’re excited to offer this store as a community resource for customers and a means of support for our mission.”

Greater Grain Gluten-Free Goods will be located in the northwest corner of Career Industries’ new location at 4811 Washington Ave. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 10a–6p, Wednesday: 10a–8p, Sundays: Noon-4p. Closed Saturdays. Call Greater Grain at 262-752-4100.

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