Nature’s Nibbles, a new store offering organic food and other products for pets and people, opened last week in the Hollin Hall Shopping Center.
The store is owned by Chris Gabriel and his wife, Anne. They started the original Nature’s Nibbles out of their home 14 years ago, and have had a store in the Del Ray neighborhood for the last 13 years. The success running what they call a “holistic mercantile” has led them to open a second location in Hollin Hall.
The location, which was previously home to Initial Impressions, has been renovated and repainted for the opening. The space is larger than the Del Ray store, and Gabriel said they are filling it out slowly as they get the new store rolling.
Nature’s Nibbles specializes in all-natural organic pet food, toys and treats for dogs and cats, and the Hollin Hill store will also feature all-natural products for humans.
On the shelves and in the freezers of the Hollin Hall store you’ll find a variety of dry, wet and raw food for dogs and cats. What you won’t find are traditional name brands or anything with soy, wheat or corn in it. Brands include Verus, K-9 Kraving and Taste of the Wild. There’s also CBD products — for pets and for humans — as well as lotions, sunscreen and more.
“We want to make sure what we carry on our shelves is all non-toxic and all-natural,” Gabriel said.
Gabriel said the decision to begin selling products for people came after his wife was diagnosed with cancer last year. While doing research on ways to be as healthy as possible while combating the disease, the couple became more aware of how many everyday products contained toxins. They began switching to organic and non-toxic food, supplements and beauty products in their daily lives, and decided it would be a logical addition to the offerings at Nature’s Nibbles.
Anne Gabriel’s health has improved since, and Chris Gabriel credited the landlord at Hollin Hall for holding the space open for them while Anne Gabriel underwent chemotherapy, allowing the couple to follow through on their plans for a second location.
While Nature’s Nibbles is new to the Route 1 area, Chris Gabriel knows the highway well. He was born on Fort Belvoir and lived near Mount Vernon High School and in Hybla Valley while growing up. He graduated from Groveton High School in 1983 and currently lives with his family in the White Oaks neighborhood.
Gabriel said Sunday that he’s been heartened by the reaction to the store in the community, and that business has been good — despite not having the outdoor sign up in time for opening.
“People have been coming in, and it’s been really good to be welcomed by everyone,” Gabriel said. “There’s been lots of community support.”