The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brittany Allen

The Grist Mill is the market for health


Brittany Allen

JUST MILLING ABOUT: Willard Cordis, proprietor, and shophand Raylene Stevens pose amid the numerous nutrients and health foods at the Grist Mill.

Arguably one of the oldest businesses in town, the Grist Mill, can not only sell you what you need to live a long and healthy life, but they can model such vitality for you.

The store opened originally as a co-op, where the Cordis family ordered supplies from local "mountain people" and then sold their goods to United Natural Foods.

"We bought a co-op," Willard Cordis, co-owner of the store says, "We just bought stuff and divided it up with the different people. And then it got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger."

Willard's mother, Isabelle, founded and originally owned the Grist Mill; she dubbed it as such because of her childhood fondness for the local mills where she would take the family wheat to have it ground. Willard's wife, Artine, began working with the business while she was raising her children.

Back then the business was located outside of town where Person Pump & Well Drilling is today. It was later Willard's father's idea to move the shop into town.

This next shop was located next to the Senior Center on Main Street but unfortunately did not stay there.

"That was actually the first big fire," Willard says of the building from which they used to operate. "It burned to the ground and we lost everything. Well, actually, we cooked the food before we took it home."

A year after this fire destroyed their East Main location, they were back in business by popular demand. Among the shelves and shelves of health foods and raw ingredients, according to Cordis, the Grist Mill is also home to quite possibly the largest amount of medicinal herbs in the Pacific Northwest. The family rebuilt the old Rialto Club building into the shop they own today.

"The general public asked us to go back into business because it was a needed service," Willard says. "The health food-people are starting to look at their health a lot more than they used to. And the people who look at their health moreso are the older people, and the demographics of this area are retired people."

Over the years, the shop has had to relocate and rebuild multiple times, but their purpose has mostly stayed the same. They actually still remain a co-op in part and sell seemingly everything from Falafel-flavored chips to your grandmother's Milk of Magnesia.

To see what they have in store for you, you can find them at 121 W Main Street. They are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


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