Bob Binder was unusually busy in February, working 19-hour days throughout the month at his store, Bob’s Natural Foods. But instead of selling protein powders or preparing healthy dishes for his loyal customers, he closed his doors and picked up a paint brush and helped renovate his longtime Long Beach businesses.
The store reopened last month after Binder hired Kiwi Builders and Murdy Electric to install new lighting, ceilings, and a heating system, as well as to remove old sheet rock to expose much of the store's original brick walls inside.
“The store is more open and much more inviting now,” Binder said. “Everything was old; it felt less clean and now everything is sparkling.”
Binder opened his natural food store in on West Beech Street on July 7, 1975, a day he notes in his menu as his “personal Independence Day.” Ever since he moved the store to its current location, at 104 W. Park St. in 1978, he said his business has done much better, partly due to the demand for natural food stores and the eventual improvements to the community.
“This is the oldest family owned natural food store in Long Island and one of the oldest businesses on Park Avenue,” Binder said. “Long beach has changed a lot in 40 years. Houses that were $10,000 are now $300,000, but the whole town has improved.”
While part of the allure is his family-business mentality, many people come for the fresh food and healthy alternatives his store provides. Not only a natural food grocery store, Bob’s also offers up a wide array of sandwiches, wraps, salads and smoothies, a favorite of his regular customers.
“We don’t use any ice, we don’t use any syrups; all we use is just whole juice and frozen fruit,” he said. “The biggest thing is to have food with a lot of antioxidants and you get that in the smoothies because of the berries, greens and fresh organic vegetable juices.”
Jeremy Taubman, a Long Beach resident, has patronized Bob’s Natural Foods three or four times a week for the last three years and calls the store simply the “best place in town.”
“It’s local, organic, cheaper, better quality, it looks nice and my best friends work here,” Taubman added. “You can spend like six bucks and have the best meal of the day.”