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.
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!