Natural Grocers

Creating a PCI compliant site in time for the holidays


Natural Grocers is a leading grocery retailer with more than 60 years in the business.

Natural Grocers believes in five core principles that inform every aspect of their business: nutrition education, highest quality products, affordable pricing, commitment to their community, and a commitment to their employees.

Providing customers with the healthy options they need is Natural Grocers top priority every day of the week. Usually, customers have no problem finding affordable, in-season produce and foods.


If this isn’t done right, we’re all fired.


Each year brought one issue: The holiday rush.

Every Thanksgiving, Natural Grocers sells organic and free-range, heritage turkeys.


In order to meet the annual demand, they needed a plan to design, develop, and launch a site that could transact with the various types and sizes of turkeys to facilitate the consumer ordering process. They needed it in time for Thanksgiving, which wasn’t that far off.


As their new agency of record, we were tasked with creating this turkey site. The client’s quote when pitching this business? “If this isn’t done right, we’re all fired.”


We agreed to this high-stakes project knowing we would only have three weeks after the site’s development completion to ensure it was PCI compliant via Rackspace. When we contacted Rackspace, they told us that they’d never seen this kind of project done in less than three months.


Driven by the determination to complete the task at hand and prove Rackspace wrong, we carried on.



We knew this project would require robust, secure, and scalable infrastructure.

Building an ecommerce website that accepts credit cards for a large client requires code servers and management processes that comply with PCI DSS — a standard developed by the credit card industry to improve security of these sites.

Tallwave and Natural Grocers had to start at square one, and to make things more interesting, we were faced with the limitations of another hosting provider. To become PCI compliant, we needed a highly scalable, market-ready infrastructure configured and they needed it fast.

We teamed up with Rackspace to make this happen by architecting and presenting a functional AWS auto-scaling architecture built for security in just two weeks. This allowed us to port the code in and pass a PCI audit within the three week timeline.

The teamwork between us, Natural Grocers, and Rackspace showed the kind of dedication, creativity, and resourcefulness it takes to pack a three-month effort into three weeks.

Our teamwork showed the kind of dedication, creativity, and resourcefulness to take a three-month effort and pack it into three weeks.


The site went live.

Natural Grocers sold out of turkeys. No one got fired.

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