Erewhon Vice President Says Business Doubling Amid Coronavirus Fears

Erewhon
Inside an Erewhon market in 2019

Moon Juice, Dragon Herbs and adaptogenic mushrooms are popular as Los Angeles residents prepare for the outbreak with organic goods.

As Angelenos flock to Costco, Target and other superstores for their social distancing essentials (from toilet paper to frozen foods), some of the city's most health-conscious residents are stocking up at Erewhon Market, the organic grocer with locations in Venice, Santa Monica, Calabasas and Los Angeles.

Cara Delevingne chose the market as her go-to place over the weekend; she was spotted leaving a store on Sunday with a shopping cart full of several paper bags of Erewhon groceries.

The store's vice president, Jason Widener, says business was up about 75 to 100 percent last week as the coronavirus spread in Los Angeles County. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday announced that bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms would close aside from delivery and take-out services, though retailers and grocers are not included.

"We feel like this is our time to shine," Widener tells The Hollywood Reporter. "People need us right now. We have doctors and herbalists and nutritionists that can help you with building your own in-house lung tonics and building your immune system. We have all kinds of remedies to help. ... We feel like we have a purpose." 

Widener reports that foods including Moon Juice (with plant proteins and super herbs), Dragon Herbs, adaptogenic mushrooms, Four Sigmatics mushrooms, lemon, onions, garlic, turmeric and ginger are some popular items. He's also recommending cordyceps fungi, platycodon plants and astragalus plants for the lungs, as well as manuka honey for those seeking anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits. "Vitamin C, antioxidants, gut health — people are really realizing how powerful these foods are," he says.

Widener is making fresh soups and teaching patrons how to make teas using eucalyptus leaves and lavender oil. And despite the busy times, he's confident their vendors are on top of it and keeping Erewhon well-supplied.

Instacart can be used for deliveries and Postmates can be used for Erewhon deli items. Additionally, catering items can be ordered "ready to freeze" within 15 miles (including vegan and gluten-free options), and anyone over the age of 65 can receive up to $40 off delivery during this time. All five locations will open one hour early, from 6 to 7 a.m., for the elderly and immune compromised, starting Wednesday.

"We're just happy that we can provide this service to people," Widener says. "You can't have fear of this virus. ... Just take care of yourself." 

March 16, 3:00 p.m. Updated with catering info.

March 16, 3:44 p.m. Updated with extended hours info.