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Mother's Market & Kitchen opens Saturday, March 16, 2019 in Manhattan Beach.

The first Mother's Market & Kitchen grocery store opened in 1978 when a small group of investors who practiced yoga together pooled their resources and on a shoe-string budget opened a small store on 17th Street in Costa Mesa.

“It was a 2,500-square-foot tiny little story that went through iterations of getting bigger, then over the several years we opened stores in Orange County,” said Deborah Rubino, chief integration officer, whose father Bruce Macgurn was a founder and leader of Mother's until his death in 2015.

With its newest location opening in Manhattan Beach at 1700 Rosecrans on Saturday, March 16, Mother's has now expanded to the South Bay. Last year, its Signal Hill location became its first in Los Angeles.

“Over the years, even back when he opened our third store in Irvine in 1996, we were just getting so many people that were visiting from other areas saying 'I wish we had a Mother's in our community, why can't we have a Mother's, would you franchise, how can we help you grow?'” Rubino said. “So to see Mother's become more available in more places, it's really fulfilling.”

The “heart” of Mother's is its fresh produce, which is around 90 percent organic, while they do strive for 100 percent, Rubino said. Mother's cafe and food services department, with its juice and coffee bar and deli, is a plant-based focused menu.

“While we do have some protein selections on the menu, it really is focusing on produce... it's the center of our retail environment, it's the center of our menu and we're really proud of that,” Rubino said. “We want to offer the best protein alternative we can for people who aren't on a strictly plant-based diet, but we know that it's a healthy way to eat and even people who are omnivores really enjoy our plant-based menu.”

Mother's also features a supplements department with a trained staff and a diverse selection of vitamins and minerals and sports nutrition selections.

With around 120 employees, Mother's officially opens March 16, beginning at 7 a.m.

There will be a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring live music/DJ, photo booth, tastings from local purveyors, new products, children's crafts and more. The first 500 customers will receive a custom grocery bag designed and printed on-site by Clean Aesthetic.

Excess produce and food will be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

“We think there's a lot of affinity between (Mother's and) the population in Manhattan Beach," said Rubino, "People who are interested in relationships, and quality and healthy living."

For more information, visit mothersmarket.com.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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