Celebrating 50 years in Old Towne, Licata Nutrition Center is a true landmark at 162 North Glassell.
Owner Tom Licata recounts when his father, Vincent Licata, opened the store in 1962 in the space now occupied by Mr. Cs Records. A few short years later, the store moved two doors down where its been a cherished fixture in Old Towne ever since.
We have a lot of customers who still remember my dad when I was a little kid, Tom said. Back then, North Glassell was the hub of the commercial district because of the JCPenney across the street. We were the first health food store in Orange.
Featuring a roster of vitamins, herbs, supplements, teas and tinctures, Licata Nutrition Center also carries whole foods like nuts, dried fruits, grain and flours. A selection of nutrition books provides excellent resources for customers, plus the stores offers a line of quality appliances including Champion and Omega juicers.
Recognizing that his father was ahead of his time in the health food industry, Tom recalls when health food products were not part of the mainstream like they are today.
In those days, if you wanted vitamins, it was One-A-Day, Tom said. It took time to educate the public about healthy options. We were able to really build the business by providing educational literature and expert speakers at the store.
At one time, Toms father owned four health food stores in Orange County, including the flagship store he opened in Santa Ana in 1956. After Vincents sudden death from a heart attack in 1989, Tom took over the family business. Today, the Old Towne store is the Licatas sole location.
Although competing with big box retailers might prove challenging, Tom has achieved staying power by remaining close with his customers. His wife Judy contributes to the stores success.
Being here for so many years, you really get to know your community, Tom said. I cant believe weve been around this long. Its something to be proud of, and its certainly a legacy to my dad.
Published in the Jul/Aug 2012 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Karen Anderson, Photograph by Jeanine Hill
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