Cornucopia Natural Foods Celebrates 40 Years in Sayville

In an age where businesses often come and go, Cornucopia Natural Foods in Sayville has proved that with hard work, love and family, running a successful business for 40 years is possible.

Founded in 1976, Cornucopia was the vision of Lynne Dougherty, a woman who battled multiple health issues for years. Medical doctors could not find the cause of her illness, so Lynne set out to find a holistic doctor who could. She learned about healthy diets and supplements, and over time, she regained her health. She was so inspired by what she had learned and the results achieved, that she set out to create a store that would become a community gathering place, where like-minded people could come together to enjoy good, healthy food.

In an era where TV dinners and microwave cooking was the latest trend, Lynne knew that there were other people like her interested in getting back to the basics of eating and preparing food naturally. She visited several health food stores which were starting to pop up on Long Island, and got some ideas. With the support of her family, Lynne built the business from the ground up. Her first husband, George Lien, built all the shelves for the store, and Lynne filled them with products. The store was well received and the business quickly grew. Before long, they needed a bigger space, and ended up moving twice, but always remained in Sayville.

Now, 40 years later, Cornucopia Natural Foods has celebrated their success by having a grand-reopening where they have showcased the store’s wide range of new offerings. The expansion included a square footage change from 3600 to 7400 square feet. This has allowed them to increase the size of their produce section, get more refrigerators and freezers, and expand their deli counter.

Lynn’s son Jonathon Lien joined the Cornucopia team in 2007, and saw the potential for growing the business. “We have been bursting at the seams for years now,” said Jonathon. “My goal has always been to create a truly socially conscious company, and a great place for our employees, our customers and our suppliers.”

Cornucopia sought support from local businesses and individuals for the expansion, and people were happy to oblige. Sacred Gardens Farm in Center Moriches created a “living wall” where beautiful live plants grace a floor to ceiling wall, and local resident, woodworker Pete Carbocci, created new seating in the café area from refurbished pallets and reclaimed wood. Using refurbished wood, as well as 100% compostable deli containers and minimal use of plastics, is part of Cornucopia’s efforts to be as sustainable as possible. “We seek to minimize our impact on the environment,” said Jonathon.

As for the food, the amount of products offered is increasing, and are set to high standards. All of the items in the store are non-GMO, the produce is all organic, only humane raised meat is used, and all other products contain no artificial ingredients, colors, preservatives, sweeteners or ingredients produced by genetic engineering. The deli menu has also expanded and caters to all lifestyles. At Cornucopia, they believe that the definition of “healthy” is different for every individual. An array of vitamins and supplements are also available for purchase.

The grand re-opening on September 9, brought in over 100 customers even before the event officially began, which was at 12 noon. Consumers received re-usable goody bags filled with samples and full-sized products, and a raffle table contained prizes donated by other local businesses. The event truly was a community affair.

Food samples were served and included some new items such as mini Mediterranean turkey burgers over Greek salad, and mini quinoa burgers with a lemon tahini sauce. Cold-pressed juices, wheatgrass shots, cold-brewed coffee and kombucha on tap were also available. Part of the proceeds from the event were donated to the charity called 1% For The Planet.

Lynn continues to assist in the running of the business, and is happy to have her family around her. Along with her son Jonathon, daughters Michelle and Lori play important roles as bookkeeper and wellness buyer. Her grandchildren can often be seen behind the registers, and even her great-grandchildren are running through the aisles.

Lynn’s determination, 40 years ago, to improve her health through healthy eating, is what has enabled her vision for the community to become a reality.

“I am grateful for the store’s success,” said Lynn. “For lessons learned, friendships made, loyal employees, and having the opportunity to live my passion of helping others live a healthy lifestyle.”

Cornucopia is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.