'Why eat at an average fast food restaurant when you could be eating at an Oasis?
Life Alive Organic Cafe in Cambridge, Lowell, and now Salem is just that! An urban oasis, available for you to come in, relax, and enjoy a delicious meal. I recently spoke with Brett Fermeglia, the Chief of Operations at Life Alive, to discuss Life Alive''s mission and philosophy as part of our merchant spotlight segment. It goes without saying that the food was delicious, but I was most taken aback by their passion.
Life Alive began about 10 years ago by founder, Heidi Feinstein, who''s background consisted of being a Natural Health Consultant, body-worker, and Expressive Arts Therapist, yet she had never owned a café before. She often wondered why, in a world where everyone is going green and looking for organic food, you couldn''t find an organic meal in a hurry. It was from that thought that Life Alive was born, a place where you no longer have to compromise between whole food goodness and fast food convenience.
Heidi's favorite meal is one she created herself: “The Goddess”. The Goddess consists of Life Alive’s famous Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce served over carrots, beets, broccoli, dark greens, & tofu on top of short-grain brown rice. With this one meal, Life Alive has not only built their café, but they’ve also built a following, too. Brett says, “The food is the best! So good you don''t even need meat.” While the food is mostly vegetarian and vegan, they have a meal for every type of eater that leaves you feeling satisfied, yet ready for anything. Life Alive is committed to providing “whole foods” which Brett described as being “as close to the earth as possible”. They seek out and promote locally and organically grown foods, which are free from all chemicals and artificial preservatives, colors, flavors and sweeteners. Thus, their food is served at its peak vibrancy and nutrition. Heidi believes that people flock to Life Alive cafe because the “food is divine and their bodies become more satisfied and energized”.Brett and I spent a good portion of our time together discussing the underlying mission of the business, “Our philosophy is to create the highest quality of whole foods that are available in a quick environment and to have the customer in and out the door in three minutes”. While many customers will go in and out the door in three minutes, most actually don't! Not because their food isn''t ready, but because the space is so social and inviting that it serves as a meeting place for the community, as well as a place to renew your energy and reflect on the day ahead. Heidi''s personal collection of books and other writings is dispersed through the three locations, and customers will even come in and leave their own personal books to be shared with future customers. Many of the writings that are read in Life Alive are about Nutrition and Religion and can lead to great discussion and understanding. Today, the hard working team are succeeding in their their mission, and are now seeing customers who come back with new friends and bringing new books each time they come.
As a busy owner of a small business, we all know how easy it is to create a mission statement, but it’s never easy to implement in practice. Not for Life Alive. Brett told me a story that took place at their Cambridge Life Alive location. About a month ago, a customer came into the restaurant carrying a jar filled with around 2,000 hand-made prayer rolls. He handed this jar over to the staff working there to spread positive messages to the Life Alive community. Thus, for about a week each customer was handed a special prayer before they ate their delicious meal. This is brilliant. It was a fun, out of the box way to spread the Life Alive love to new and repeat customers. It had nothing to do with sales or their food, just something that was driven by the passionate community of customers Life Alive has worked hard to attract.
Life Alive has aspirations to continue expanding. They recently opened a new location in Salem and are hoping to open another within the next year. Brett left me with two final messages, one that they will never quit on their mission to feed the vitality of the world and that we should stay on the look-out for a video contest they will be running in the next couple of months on the value of whole foods sustainability. We can''t wait to see what Life Alive''s customers will come up with.For all of you out there, you should check out the Life Alive facebook page, website and email newsletter to see how they really nurture and build community around their mission and product.
Thanks, Brett, for opening your doors to our community!
All of Life Alive''s meals are made fresh to order from organic produce delivered daily.