Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. has raised minimum pay to $11 per hour at all of its stores.
The specialty chain said Wednesday that the pay increase applies to part- and full-time Natural Grocers employees and will immediately benefit about 700 good4u crew members.
All Natural Grocers good4uSM associates also get another $1 per hour in Vitamin Bucks, which can be used for in-store purchases, the retailer said.
"This decision is a reflection of our continued commitment to our employees. It has always been our policy to offer pay that is above the legally mandated minimum wage,” co-president Kemper Isely said in a statement. “This increase, when paired with the company's Vitamin Bucks program, sets Natural Grocers' pay at the forefront of the grocery industry."
Overall, Denver-based Natural Grocers operates 146 stores in 19 states and has more than 3,000 employees.
Vitamin Bucks provides an extra $1 per hour of in-store spending money for each regular hour worked. Natural Grocers said the program originated from company founder Margaret Isely, who wanted to create a “community cabinet” of healthy lunch items and supplements for all employees to access.
Other employee benefits from Natural Grocers include birthday bonuses equal to one day's pay, company discounts of up to 30% on groceries and supplements, and paid nutrition education. The latter includes video training; free coaching sessions with an in-store nutritional health coach; a library of system-based training modules; and access to nutrition literature, resource guides and books. The company also provides paid holidays to part- and full-time staff as well as a comprehensive benefits package to the more than 80% of its employees who average 30 hours or more per week.