Lush opening Monday at Lehigh Valley Mall

A tub demonstrating Lush’s bath bombs at one of its stores. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –


Some good news at a time when many bricks and mortar retailers are closing, a new beauty product store is opening at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall.

Lush, which sells handmade organic bath products including bath bombs, soaps and body washes, is opening Monday on the Lower level of the mall near Starbucks.

The chain of stores concentrates on in-store experience including personalized consultations.

Of course with COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place the store will be operating at reduced capacity. The store will also not be offering product demos while restrictions remain in place and will have new products available if customers are not comfortable purchasing the package-free items on display that the stores are known for.

Shoppers can place online orders and pick up at the store, or they can enter the store and observe social distancing regulations, including contactless payment.

“We are so excited to open the doors to a brand new store in Pennsylvania,” says Elisa Torres, Lush’s director of retail. “While the road to normality is bound to be a little uncertain as the world changes around us, we’re committed to safely and consciously starting afresh together, and look forward to welcoming the people of Lehigh Valley with open arms.”

Sticking with the chain’s brand as an eco-friendly retailer, the new shop is outfitted almost entirely with reclaimed wood, ethically sourced in the Pacific North West, the shop’s walls, fittings and shelving were all once barns or industrial buildings, which lowers the chain’s carbon footprint.

Founded in 1995, Lush has more than 260 retail locations across North America.

Dundore & Heister closing Easton venue to focus on Berks market

The owners of a whole-animal butcher stand at Easton Public Market said they are closing their venue after a nearly four-year run. (Submitted Photo By Ryan Hulvat) –

The owners of a whole-animal butcher stand at Easton Public Market said they are closing their venue after a nearly four-year run.

Tod and Chrissy Auman, principals of Dundore & Heister, said they would close their stand after Jan. 26 to focus on their flagship store in Wyomissing. Dundore & Heister opened in 2014 in Wyomissing, offering local, grass-fed, pastured, organic meats to the Berks County market.

Tod Auman said his Easton venue was one of the original vendors of the market when it opened in April 2016. Now, he would like to focus on exploring strategic partnerships, better distribution practices, and introduce new product lines and develop a catering arm to the business.

The company, which sources animals from local family farms, sells mostly raw and premium prepared products and plans to build educational programming such as a butchering apprenticeship program, among other initiatives.

“Our company exists to support Pennsylvania agriculture,” Auman said.

By working with farmers to help create healthy soil, the company creates healthy food that it sells in as many outlets as possible, he said.

As an example, one of its products, a Hex Pie, is a meat-filled pie with potatoes the company sells at Reading Phillies baseball games in Reading.

Two challenges the company faces increasing the sales of its agricultural products is the need to increase capital and find more people to join the team, Auman said. The company, which began in Wyomissing, would like to do more workforce training of new butchers and has about 15 to 20 full- and part-time employees.

“We have such strong roots in agriculture in both Berks County and Lehigh Valley,” Auman said. “Our journey is to promote that and promote the good that can come from our remarkable soils. That’s really the inspiration behind Dundore & Heister.”

The company also has a partnership with Rodale Institute of Maxatawny Township, Berks County, to adopt a new standard for farming known as Regenerative Organic Certification. The standard is a holistic approach to farming that includes addressing animal wellness standards, fair wages, and other elements, Auman said. Such an approach is good for the business, the farmers, the animals and ultimately the consumer.

At its Wyomissing store, sales increased by 40 percent last year, he said.

The partnerships and collaborations have allowed for a lot of increased revenue and consumers are looking for the company to be creative with its products, he said.

“It’s those products that have really increased our sales,” Auman said. “We’ve redefined our company as a company that’s going out and getting our products in different venues.”

It’s also selling them through different models, such as through catering services.

State seeks to bolster organic farming through Rodale partnership

Rodale Institute Executive Director Jeff Moyer speaks about consulting services for farmers transitioning to organic –

Pennsylvania farmers seeking to convert to organic cultivation can now get assistance from consultants at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown thanks to a new partnership with the state Department of Agriculture.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding introduced the program during an event at Jaindl Farms in Orefield. Jaindl Farms produced 60,000 organic turkeys in 2018 and is shifting some of its corn and soybean crops to organic.

“Pennsylvania’s partnership with Rodale … will provide a new opportunity to producers and consumers alike,” said Redding. “By increasing access to resources and technical assistance, farmers will be able to more easily expand and diversify their operations and consumers will have more options at the farmer’s market and grocery store.”

Rodale Institute’s consulting services will be available to help farmers interested in transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture. Farmers can get advice in areas such as certification, crop rotation planning, recordkeeping, marketing, equipment advice, weed-control methods, soil sampling and seed sourcing.

“Family farms can make a living on the organic price premiums, while protecting the health of our soils, air, and water, and providing healthy, nutritious foods to our families,” said Jeff Moyer, executive director of the Rodale Institute. “Transitioning to organic isn’t just about not using pesticides. Farmers need education, mentorship, one-on-one coaching and advice to make the switch.”