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W&L Alum Named Richmond Retailer of the Year

Washington and Lee alumnus Donnie Caffery can thank Rockbridge County’s high ragweed count for a major award he received last week.

Donnie, a member of the Class of 1976, won Richmond’s Retail Merchants Association Retailer of the Year Award for the success of his two natural-food stores, Good Foods Grocery.

In a story about the honor in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Donnie said that his lifelong commitment to natural foods began when he arrived at W&L from New Orleans and began suffering from allergies that he’d never had. He treated the allergies holistically and changed the way that he ate.

“I had never paid attention to my diet before. I just grew up and ate food,” he told the Times-Dispatch.

Donnie opened his first Richmond store in 1985 in the Stony Point Shopping Center. The second store is in the Gayton Crossing Shopping Center.

In the years since he first got into the business, interest in health foods has increased, and many supermarkets have added natural-food sections. But while that may have hurt his business, Donnie says that it has raised awareness. He says the basic mission of his store is “supporting people in their quest away from sickness and toward wellness.”

The Distinguished Retailer Award honors “a proven leader” who is “actively involved in community endeavors without regard to personal benefit.”