The Kiva was started by George Brown as a bookstore in Eugene’s first mall, in 1970. It was a “Hippie Mall,” located in an old garage at the corner of East 11th Avenue and Oak Street in downtown Eugene. Other tenants in the mall included Lazar and Rosie Makyadath (Lazar’s Bazar, Shoeaholic), The Birkenstock Store and Golden Temple Foods, selling granola and Wah Guru Chew bars. There was a small restaurant, a tiny natural foods store, and the books.
George took over the grocery portion and slowly, slowly increased its size as other tenants moved out. Stocking this little natural food store involved weekly trips to Portland to purchase nuts, produce, and cheese; trips to California for dried produce and juice (from Mrs. Knudsen); and soap purchased directly out of Dr. Bronner’s garage. The store's shelves provided some of the first retail space for local favorites such as Toby's Family Foods and the Springfield Creamery.
In 1983 the Kiva moved to its current location at the corner of West 11th Ave and Olive Street, and in 2003 George and his wife Melissa became business partners.