Our Story

Receiving our first pallet at our store on Kauai in 2007 (Rilyn, Brett, Dakota, and Emmet)
Dakota, Brett, Rilyn, and Emmet standing in the store.
Gather in 2021 (Dakota, Brett, Rilyn, and Emmet)

We’re a family that cares deeply about healthy food, people, and our planet.

We are a family of four passionate about supporting our planet in everything we do. We have a deep respect for the natural world and a desire to live in balance with what the earth offers. We consider the long-term impact on our planet in the decisions we make, big and small. We are aware that our Western culture has not considered its impact on the health of the planet in the past and there is much to do to decrease years of toxicity and depletion. We believe the earth has the power to regenerate and thrive if given the chance. Growing food has enormous potential to not only feed us, but to replenish the earth, and Gather is our way of contributing to this process.

Our Journey

We have deep roots in health and healing, with Rilyn’s Grandmother owning and operating a Health Food store in San Luis Obispo in the 70’s and Rilyn growing up believing in the power of food to heal. When we were in our early thirties, we decided to change career paths and sought work that could truly support the planet…organic food was an obvious path. Although growing organic food was our original goal that led us to move from the Central Coast to Kauai with Emmet (then 5 years old) and Dakota (then 1 year old) that path took a turn that in which we found ourselves opening a retail store to sell organic food! Although neither of us had much experience in retail, our love for connecting with people and our ability to think, plan and work hard, coupled with our passion to live a meaningful life, launched us to open our first Natural Market, Hoku Foods, which continues to serve our Kauai Ohana to this day (under the ownership of Margaret and Erik Pendleton).

Upon returning home to SLO County, our 25-year-old desire for a Natural Market in North County with a bountiful selection of organic produce, a big aisle of bulk bins, and all the basic organic foods we love was rekindled. The search for a location began…and a few years later, after many visions and revisions, collaborations and negotiations, a lease for Gather was signed and the real work began. It took a year to turn an empty shell of a warehouse into our clean, simple space which we opened in February of 2020. A month later the pandemic stay at home order began, and we found ourselves riding the intense waves of shut downs, store restrictions and food and staffing shortages. We opened Gather to find to find we couldn't gather. It was a rough ride, but we are still here and thriving. Through it all, we continue to be grateful to be growing in service to our awesome Gather Community!


A photo of Rilyn holding Rhubarb.
Supporting Organic farmers is foundational in Rilyn's drive to care for the planet. And while Gather serves this purpose, it also fulfills her need to contribute something valuable to her community. Maybe because she loved hanging out on the counter at her Grandmothers health food store in San Luis Obispo as a youngster Natural Food stores have always felt like a second home to Rilyn and she hopes Gather brings you the same comfort.  While stocking shelves, helping customers find what they need, and cheerfully ringing up baskets fulfills her need to contribute to her community, sourcing from organic farms and companies dedicated to sustainable business practices meets her desire to be a part of creating a more regenerative food system. Digging her hands in the soil, quietly observing nature and feeling the sunshine on her face is also her happy place!
A silly photo of Brett pretending to eat a watermelon.
Besides managing the initial build out of Gather, the creative vision and power behind setting up and maintaining all our systems, from our computer network, to our refrigeration, to our surround sound music, Brett tirelessly keeps Gather running efficiently and smoothly to not only offer a pleasant shopping experience but most importantly organic food at affordable prices.  He also always makes sure our lives are full of laughter and love with his dry humor and silliness. (He could not wait to receive our first pallet of watermelon!) When not at Gather, Brett enjoys hiking outdoors in the fresh air with family.
A photo of Emmet stocking local bread.
Emmet was the passionate motivator for our family to open Gather, he grew up at our first store on Kauai and wanted to offer the same service in Atascadero, back home where he was born! He worked hard during the build out, pouring his passion into painting much of the walls and ceiling, yes by hand! Now, when not behind the computer writing SQL queries to improve our ordering and receiving operations, Emmet can be found helping customers find what they are looking for or gearing up to stock the freezer. Outside of Gather, you can find him editing wildlife films or out in the field behind a camera. His love of nature inspires and motivates him to do all he can to encourage his community to care for our planet and live more sustainably.
A photo of Dakota standing in the walk in refrigerator.
Dakota quietly busts out any back of house job needed. You can find him thoughtfully stacking our produce, checking in pallets, filling bulk bins or chillin' in the cooler stocking your favorite refrigerated items. He was a baby when we opened our last store and loved being little surround by a caring community (as well as endless cardboard to play with!). He was excited to be able to contribute on a different level to opening Gather and has grown in new ways as he mastered all floor operations. Outside of Gather, you can find Dakota sitting at the ocean, forest, or lake, attentively waiting to photograph the wonders of our Central Coast wildlife.

Gather Team

A photo of Ellie preparing produce.
Back of House
For almost two years Ellie has been a back of house powerhouse making sure all our produce is fresh and beautiful before it reaches our displays! Her attention to detail is stellar and her strength as well as her ability to anticipate needs keeps shipment breakdown running smoothly. Her gentle presence and caring heart often make our days brighter and lighter.

A note from Ellie- "Outside of work, I enjoy being with friends and family, walking and hiking, and most sports. I chose to work at Gather because of the supportive environment and because Gather makes healthier options more available. I enjoy working at Gather because I like the interaction with the community"
A photo of Kat taking carts outside.
Kat has grown with us over the last year and a half as she navigates the demands of college. We are grateful for her sweet smile and laughter, coupled with her calm presence welcoming everyone. She is always eager to help customers as well as her team in any way she can. Her dedication to learning new things and contributing her energy makes Gather a happy place to be.

A note from Kat- "I like reading, drawing, and being in nature. I choose to work at Gather because I love how environmentally conscious the products we sell are, and how mindfully this store is run. I like laughing with customers. I support organic, local food because I care about the environment and I care about what I eat. I'm so glad I get to work for, and work with, such amazing people who care so much about our environment and the health of our community!"
A photo of Sam next to a produce display.
Back of House
Sam channels his passion for the environment and his creative eye to all our produce displays! Always keeping them full, fresh, and beautiful! He is eager to contribute by doing whatever is needed to offer our community awesome produce and a joyful shopping experience. His clear communication and the ease in which he connects to everyone makes working together fun!

A note from Sam- "Nothing brings me more joy than being outside and connecting with nature. Working at Gather allows me to continue to help support my local community and environment while being on the clock! In my free time, I love to work on community farms and spread my passion for environmentalism through school clubs :)"
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4825 El Camino Real Atascadero, CA

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