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When Jan Allen opened Allen Natural Foods in 1976, she wasn't sure how York County would welcome the store or how long it would last.

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Forty years later, the now 86-year-old Allen can't help but look back at all the friends she's made and people she's helped.

"It's been a wonderful experience, not one single day of regret," she said.

Originally from York County, Allen and her husband had learned about health food stores while living in Los Angeles during the late '60s and early '70s. When they moved back to York, they couldn't find an outlet for their newfound passion, she said.

Allen Natural Foods has locations in West York, at 350 S. Richland Ave., and Hanover, at 1150 Carlisle St., and both will celebrate the 40-year anniversary on Saturday with samples, door prizes and music 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Allen said her favorite part of the business has been the evolving information regarding healthy eating.

"It's constant, daily learning, almost like a nutrition school," she said. "It's a lot of teaching and training to keep up."

The stores have been unique in the area in their promotion of homeopathy, Allen said, which is a system of alternative medicine based on a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.

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