In 1978, a couple of idealistic 24-year-olds — Janie and Peter Brodhead — bucked the odds and opened Brighter Day Natural Foods in a then-uncertain neighborhood of Savannah – all before “natural” became mainstream.
Forty-one years later the Brodheads are passing Brighter Day on to Kristin Russell and Brad Baugh.
Russell owns The Sentient Bean, Brighter Day’s next-door neighbor. For 18 years Russell’s motto at The Sentient Bean has been, “building community.” Like the Brodheads, Russell has supported nonprofit efforts.
Russell is a food activist and a believer in local farms. Ten years ago she co- founded the Forsyth Farmers Market, today one of most successful markets in the Southeast. Russell sits on the board of Georgia Organics, a nonprofit designed to connect organic farmers with Georgian families.
“While it's scary taking on this legacy, it’s such a good fit that we felt it was worth the risk,” said Baugh about buying Brighter Day. “We shop there all the time. We believe in the store’s core values. We knew Janie and Peter were thinking of making a change. We didn’t want to see it go.”
Russell says they have no immediate plans to change the staff or the general direction of the health food store. “We're especially passionate about opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint, support local farmers, and of course serving great, healthy food.”
Janie bristles at the word “retiring,” preferring to say, “We are re-firing.”
While the business changes hands Dec. 31, the Brodheads plan on working at the store until the end of February. Then, said Janie, “We look forward to returning as customers.”