Vegan Staples Are Still in Demand at Nooch

Nooch is playing it safe while staying open.
Nooch is playing it safe while staying open. Vanessa Gochnour
While the shelves are being picked bare at traditional grocery stores throughout Denver during the coronavirus crisis, Nooch Vegan Market has been less busy than normal. The specialty store, which sells vegan items, is missing the foot traffic from nearby businesses that are temporarily closed, according to owner Vanessa Gochnour.

“We also aren't seeing our destination and traveling-through-Denver shoppers that regularly add to our days, either,” the shop owner adds.

Gochnour says there was some initial “stocking up” before people began following the stay-at-home order from Mayor Michael Hancock on March 24, but things have slowed down since then. Right now, the inside of the store is closed to shoppers, who instead place their orders at the front door. “Customers tell us what they'd like, we get it, ring them up with contactless payment, and send their items down a little makeshift rack-ramp between counters that keeps us all adhering to the six-foot-or-more social distancing,” she explains. “We also wear gloves, masks, and continue to sanitize and clean the store regularly to keep ourselves safe as well.”

Surprisingly, supply chains have remained pretty consistent, aside from the first week of the stay-at-home order, Gochnour adds. “We've also added more bulk staple goods and produce to our selections since there's been more of a need for at-home cooking and meal-prep ingredients,” she adds.

One of the most popular items during this time has been tofu, since many other stores seem to be out of it. Violife vegan cheeses, Gardein vegan meats and locally grown salad greens from Altius Farms are also among popular items. Gochnour says that items people usually buy when they’re going to work, such as grab-n-go meals, snacks and drinks, are not selling as well.

Gochnour says she’s received a lot of positive feedback the past few weeks, noting, "Our customers are thankful that we've been able to stay open, continue to stock a lot of their favorites, and that we were able to figure out a good contactless system that keeps both them and us as safe as possible."

Nooch Vegan market is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m daily at 10 East Ellsworth Avenue. The staff has been uploading photos of what's in stock to the market's website, so you can make your shopping list before you go.
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Kristen Kuchar is a Colorado writer covering craft beer, food and travel. For Westword, she explores vegan dining and the state's artisan beverages, such as cider and mead.