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They give you some extra time to shop

I was at Natural Grocers recently and noticed the odd hours posted on the door — 8:56 a.m. to 8:04 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9:56 a.m. to 7:04 p.m. Sundays. Why the weird hours?

— Julie B., Medford

The head honcho of the company says the extra four minutes at the beginning and end of each day is a reminder that staff at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage will welcome you whether you arrive a few minutes early or a few minutes late.

"Our owners believe we should open when the public arrives and close when the public leaves," said Scot Forrest, manager of the brand-spanking new Medford store, housed in the building formerly occupied by National Furniture and Mattress.

The rather odd hours are the same for all 65 locations nationwide.

"Some mornings we open on time ... and sometimes we open 10 or 15 minutes early if we see people standing outside," said Forrest.

Shoppers won't be asked to leave or "make their final selection" at closing time, nor will they have to endure the obnoxious closing, "We-want-to-go-home" announcements.

Hospitality is apparently important to this organic foods retailer, Julie, so don't feel bad about staying late to get everything on your list.