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Carbs Are Evil

Potomac women open a store to fill a niche.

Potomac resident Joanne Goldberg was encountering a problem common to people on the popular low carbohydrate diet.

“When I went to stores, they were always sold out,” she said. “And ordering online often required buying a case of something I hadn’t tried.”

Then, she had a revelation. “There have to be other people out there,” she said. The entrepreneurial spirit moved her to open a store which would cater to people on similar diets.

She contacted her friend and neighbor Donna Evens, who she had been working with in a home-based marketing firm, and told Evens about the idea.

The two, who have both marketing and retail experience, moved quickly on the idea. “We went from conception to opening in about three months,” Evens said. They opened a store in Rockville’s Nicholson Plaza in December.

“It’s a wonderful concept,” said Barbara Goldman a customer at the store.

All of the products they carry have either low or no carbohydrates, even food typically associated with high carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels, and pasta.

“People are able to stay on the diet without feeling like you’re cheating,” said Kimberly Scott, another customer and a Potomac resident. “It’s an opportunity to have some normalcy.”

“If you are an unhappy dieter, it’s all over, you are not going to stick to the diet,” Goldberg said. “I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of the things I like.”

Evens said that the labels can show people how to calculate the total amount of carbohydrates they are consuming.

But for people who do not understand how to make the calculations, they offer assistance. “I’d say 80 percent of the people need help reading the labels,” Evens said.

The customer base is more than just people on an Atkins-style diet. People who have diabetes or who have had gastric bypass surgery also frequent the store, because the high-protein, low-sugar fare can meet the dietary requirements of each. “They know that everything is going to meet those qualifications,” Evens said.

The owners are not concerned about the potential for losing business if low-carbohydrate diets should go out of style.

“I really do not see it as a fad,” Evens said. “Many had adopted a sort of low-carb lifestyle years ago.”

“If they are able to maintain their weight, and don’t have any extraneous health problems, why not?” Goldberg said.

Business is good now. They have begun to hire employees and may start opening on Sundays and launch sales on their website.

Evens said they do hope to expand and open stores in other locations.

“The name is trademarked,” she said.