Archive for the ‘Retailer Story’ Category

Friends In Focus: Dover Healthy Alternatives

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

By Marsha Bonecutter

As many of us know, living through a painful experience can often make us a changed person. At age 34, Connie Ciekanski, owner of Dover Healthy Alternatives in Dover, Ohio, found her life altered forever, when she attempted to help a friend who was dying of cancer. “She was diagnosed with cancer at age 38,” explained Connie. “She went through several months of treatments. She had a five year old son. She was slowly losing her life. I felt so bad for her situation, so I went and listened to an herbalist speak, hoping to find something to help her. Sadly, it was too late and I wasn’t able to.”

Listening to the herbalist and the passing of her friend acted as a catalyst that ultimately led Connie to change her own health for the better. “I started by doing herbal cleansing,” said Connie. “I joined a multi-level company, bought a MRM (muscle response monitor), went to Michigan for training and certification and completely loved every minute of what I was doing.”

In September of 2000, Connie went into a health food store in downtown Dover and asked the owner if he wanted to sell his store—he said yes! “I really wasn’t thinking he would say yes,” laughed Connie, “I was so excited about owning my own store that I never feared failure. Our anniversary is September 1st.”

It has been an eventful 11 years for Dover Healthy Alternatives and for Connie and her family. The first location on Third Street in downtown Dover was a 1,000 square foot store which only accommodated the booming business for 6 months. Connie moved across the street to a location that was double the size and had a basement for meetings. The store flourished there for two years. Fortune smiled again when the former Goshen Dairy store at 320 North Wooster Avenue, Dover, became available. “My husband, Bob, took off work and we went to look at this building,” Connie recalled. “The whole time I told myself I was just curious to see it—there was no way I could move there. As soon as I saw the inside, I knew it had to be the next Dover Healthy Alternatives location.” (more…)

Friends in Focus: 14 Carrot Whole Foods

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

By Marsha Bonecutter

14 Carrot Whole Foods

You might say Ed Elbrecht took a “seed” of an idea, allowed it to “sprout” and now it has grown into a thriving and successful health food store called 14 Carrot Whole Foods. Located at 5300 Sunset Boulevard in Lexington, South Carolina, 14 Carrot is the culmination of years of experience in the health food industry. Ed has come a long way from his humble beginning–helping a friend grow sprouts in Athens, Ohio.

“I became interested in health foods after graduating from college,” said Ed. “I graduated from Ohio University in 1978 and moved to Chicago to work as a photographer. I remember buying in bulk at a little health food store there. I guess it was cheaper for me,” laughed Ed.

14 Carrot Whole Foods

The windy city turned out to be too big for Ed, so he bought a van, spent the winter re-building the engine in his basement, and then made his escape. After doing some travelling, Ed moved to Columbia, SC and opened his own sprout growing business called Solar Farms. “The business brought me into health food stores on a weekly basis,” said Ed, “gradually I learned more about nutrition and different types of health food diets. After about 15 years growing sprouts, I decided that starting a health food store would be a great business.”

Ed met his wife, Janet, in 1986. The couple met while taking a Macrobiotic cooking class. They were married two years later. Their dream of starting a health food store was a common one, so it was very fortunate that they met Carter Breland at a macrobiotic pot luck dinner.

Carter, a retired Lexington county school system personnel director, was recovering from cancer. His doctors gave him no hope that he could beat his melanoma, so Carter had begun following a strict Macrobiotic diet in 1983. Carter extended his life another 14 years.

14 Carrot Whole Foods

Both Ed and Carter felt their area needed a complete natural foods store and they opened 14 Carrot Whole Foods in West Columbia in February 1991. When asked about the clever name they chose for their store, Ed replied, “We weren’t creative enough to come up with a name off the top of our heads, so we found lists of health food stores to get ideas. We only found one 14 Carrot and it wasn’t in the south east, so we changed the end of the name and kept it. It’s been a fun store name”.

Those early days were a challenge, with Carter, Ed and a friend of Ed’s, Glenda Ford, splitting the 7 day schedule. Ed still had a very successful sprout business and was dividing his time between the two ventures. “I grew alfalfa sprouts and mung bean sprouts,” said Ed. “When I sold the business in 1997 we were growing 6 to 8 thousand pounds per week.” In the beginning, while Ed was balancing two endeavors, Carter was instrumental in drawing interest and customers to the store. Being a former personnel director, he had many friends and acquaintances. “When the news of his victory over cancer and his substantial weight loss got around, folks came into the store and word spread from there,” explained Ed. The 1,600 square foot store doubled in size by 1996. The present location, 6 ½ miles away in Lexington, was opened in May of 2000, and is twice the size of the original store.

14 Carrot is a full line health food store and carries a large selection of supplements, health and beauty aids, general groceries, refrigerated and frozen foods, fresh organic/natural meats and deli foods, organic produce, and a bulk department featuring over 500 items. When asked to name a few favorites, Ed said, “It’s hard to name just a few. I love the fresh organic salmon from 200 miles north of the Shetland Islands. I also like the organic ‘no sulfites added’ wines. We also support local agriculture and farmers by carrying Certified South Carolina grown produce and meats throughout the year.”

14 Carrot Whole Foods

Whether your needs are vegetarian, vegan, wheat/gluten free, or raw, stop in to 14 Carrot Whole Foods, where their extensive selection will be the solution for you. “We believe that our customer service and knowledgeable staff are second to none and invite you to experience it for yourself,” says Ed.

“My favorite job is helping the customers. I love showing them products they aren’t familiar with and helping them learn natural methods of dealing with health issues. It is my goal for our store to meet the needs of the natural community.”

The communities in and around Lexington, SC have benefited from the services of 14 Carrot Whole Foods for 20 years. Thank you, Ed Elbrecht and staff and here’s to many years of continued success!

Friends In Focus: Featuring Buttonwood Market

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

By: Marsha Bonecutter

Buttonwood Market

“It was just like it was meant to be.” That is how Michelle Riesbeck describes finding the location of her store, Buttonwood Market. Michelle and her husband were strolling down Main Street in the village of New Concord one evening, looking for a site for her natural foods store. Michelle noticed the “old library” building was empty. “It was one of those “Karma” things,” laughs Michelle, “I went into the flower shop next door to ask who the landlord was, and sure enough, the building was available.”

Buttonwood Market opened February 9, 2009 at 30 Main Street, New Concord, OH. Though the village utilized the building to house the library and several other small businesses over the years, the structure was originally built by the owners-operators of Sawyer’s Cash Grocery in 1922. The Sawyer family lived next door and a grandson of the original owner still resides in New Concord. “I have a cow bell on my ancient front door,” says Michelle, “old windows that let cold air in during winter and wooden floors. The building is very old, but that’s what gives it its charm.”

Buttonwood Market

Owning her own store has been a dream of Michelle’s for many years. She graduated from Marietta College with a degree in Small Business Management. While still in school she took a job working at an ice cream store for Broughton Foods Company in Marietta. When she graduated, the company offered her a management position and later she moved into sales and marketing. She was with Broughton for 17 years. “At that time, it was a family owned company and a great place to work,” said Michelle. Michelle further expanded her qualifications by working 10 years in the supermarket industry.

It is the extreme good fortune of the citizens of New Concord and surrounding areas that Michelle’s dream came to fruition.

“Buttonwood Market was established to meet the growing demands of consumers who require natural, organic, vegan and other special dietary needs,” explains Michelle. “I do special orders and case discounts for my customers and we carry many dairy free and gluten free items as well as items for wheat intolerant people. Berlin Natural Bakery’s Chocolate Meltdown spelt cookies help us through those long winter nights, and the Whole Spelt burger buns go great with grass-fed burgers on the grill in the summertime.”

At Buttonwood Market you will also find many locally produced items. On one wall you will find regional maps of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Colored tags locate the companies whose products are represented in the store.

Buttonwood Market

Michelle decided to name her store “Buttonwood” after a tree commonly known as the Sycamore. “We have a large Sycamore tree on our property that we have always admired,” explained Michelle. “Since the Sycamore (or Buttonwood) is known to live for several generations, the name was selected for its stability.” Buttonwood Market will continue to serve the community by adapting to emerging trends, evolving and keeping current with customers’ requests and locating the most feasible sources of products requested.

“It is a good day,” says Michelle, “when you are serving people who are smiling because they’ve been looking for something that I’ve researched and found for them. It is very rewarding.”

Stop in soon and check out all Buttonwood Market has to offer, especially the new “Grab and Go” items coming in mid-July.

Retailer Story: Annette and David Selstak of Dietary Health Foods

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Dietary Health Foods … Three Generations of Caring
By Marsha Bonecutter

Attention: Be sure you read all the way to the end of Dietary Health Foods Retailer Story! Dietary Health Foods has customized limited time special offer for you at the bottom of this post. The limited time offer ends October 27th 2010, and you definitely don’t want to miss it!

Dietary Health Foods

There were “exercises to do in your car” and “exercises to do lying down” and “exercises to do at your desk” – in the 1970’s Americans were becoming serious about improving their health. Aerobics, yoga, jogging, walking and bicycling were becoming increasingly more popular with the mainstream population. Annette Selestak, then in her early 20’s became passionate about fitness and nutrition, and unlike some folks during the 70’s fitness craze, her passion became an integral part of her life.

A graduate of Baldwin Wallace College with a degree in Business Management, Annette married David Selestak in 1984. She worked for a large company in marketing for many years. When son Bryan was 10 and daughter Loren was 6, Annette, seeking hours that were more “family friendly”, pursued a career in teaching. At Lorain County Community College, Annette taught—you guessed it—fitness and nutrition, until another “family” opportunity presented itself.

Dietary Health Foods

Karen and Annette

Annette’s uncle Tony wanted to retire. Annette and Dave decided to keep his business in the family, and now she is the third generation owner of Dietary Health Foods at, 42985 North Ridge Road, in Elyria, Ohio. The family legacy began in 1971 when two of Annette’s uncles, Tony and John purchased a small “mom and pop” convenience store in downtown Lorain, Ohio. Eventually, the two converted the store into a health food store. “Sometime later, Uncle Tony bought out Uncle John,” said Annette, “and in the mid 80’s the store was moved to its current location in Elyria. “We are in a converted eighty year old house,” says Annette, “the first floor is 1,200 square feet, and our customers tell us we fit quite a lot of merchandise in a small space.” The upstairs contains offices and rooms for lectures, seminars and staff meetings. “We have an acre of land behind the house so we can have fun events like our Doggie Day Spa,” says Annette.

Doggie Day Spa

When asked to explain what still inspires her about the health food industry, Annette replied, “It is inspiring how our industry has educated the public to take charge of their health. We want our customers to make informed decisions to meet their health related goals.” Dietary Health Foods is very committed to education. They have monthly events providing educational seminars on a variety of topics.

Dietary Health Foods

Annette, a Certified Natural Health Professional and a Personal Nutrition Coach loves working with the customers. “Most people come in and aren’t sure how to start improving their health,” explains Annette, “we listen to their concerns, come up with a plan, and make some recommendations. It’s all about what works best for a customer’s life style and budget.”

Stop in to Dietary Health Foods where Annette and the staff will address your health issues and suggest some of their favorite items. “Berlin Natural Bakery products top the list of favorite food items, “says Annette, “my family loves the Biblical Breadsticks and the Pumpkin Streusel and Zucchini Spelt breads.” Other favorites are the whole food supplements such as Garden of Life Raw One for Women and Mega Foods B-Complex and Megazymes. “The ingredients are from food sources,” explains Annette, “so what better way to nourish your body?”

Dietary Health Foods

For 39 years Dietary Health Foods has been serving the communities in and around Elyria. “Our staff is always willing to listen and ‘go the extra mile’ to help you achieve your health related goals.” Annette says, proudly, “It is rewarding working with a staff that is so dedicated. My staff has been with the store from 3 to 20 years.” What a wonderful testament to this third generation family business. Wishing Dietary Health Foods many more generations of success!

****Dietary Health Foods Limited-Time Special Offers****

25% Off These Specific Products Below

1) Berlin Natural Bakery Pumpkin Streusel and Zucchini Breads

2) Berlin Natural Bakery Chocolate Meltdown and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3) Berlin Natural Bakery Sourdough Spelt Bread

To take advantage of this special please mention this article to the checker by saying “I saw the article on Berlin Natural Bakery’s website” to get the discount on your selected products!

Offer Expires: October 27, 2010


Retailer Story: Jim and Dorie Starks of Lori’s Natural Food Center

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Be Good To The Earth … Be Good To Yourself … At Lori’s Natural Foods Center

By: Marsha Bonecutter

Attention: Be sure you read all the way to the end of Lori’s Natural Food Center Retailer Story! Lori’s has customized limited time special offer for you at the bottom of this post. The limited time offer ends October 17th 2010, and you definitely don’t want to miss it!

By the time Jim Starks was 25 years old; his life experiences far outweighed his years. Jim was a decorated World War II veteran, having been awarded the Bronze Star for rescuing a fellow soldier during a battle in Germany. Jim was also a graduate of Syracuse University, with a degree in marketing. In 1950, Jim began a 31 year career with the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company. In 1951, he reconnected with Dorie Formicola, (they had met briefly in 1949) and they began dating. In 1952, the couple was married. If you think that sounds like a very full and rewarding life, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet!

Raising a family in the fifties may have been simpler than it is today, but it certainly was not any easier. Dorie and Jim planted and maintained a garden and canned and preserved their harvest every year, supplying the family with healthy foods year round. This was the normal routine for the Starks’ family up until about 4 years ago. You cannot be an avid and successful gardener without developing a love and appreciation for wholesome foods. That was the foundation for the next phase of Jim Stark’s already impressive career.

Lori's Natural Foods Center

After wearing many “hats” at Bausch and Lomb, including marketing, scientific instrumentation, materials management, and personnel relations, Jim took an early retirement in 1981. He was only 56 years old. “He didn’t really retire”, laughs Dorie, “he just refocused!” Jim said, “I was looking for something else I could do and be proud of.”

After searching for a time, Jim found a store called the Bread Depot and bought the place. “They carried one line of vitamins and a small quantity of bulk foods like flour, grains and nuts,” remembers Jim. “Gradually, we replaced the products that were there with natural and organic products, plus wellness products including vitamins.” Dorie and Jim began looking for a new name for their store. “We submitted many names of natural food stores,” explains Dorie, “but they were rejected because they were already used.” Their lawyer suggested putting a name in the title. Jim chose the name of his 19 year old partner…his daughter, Lori! “Lori’s just sounded better than Jim’s,” said Dorie. Lori’s Natural Foods Center opened in September of 1981.

Lori's Natural Foods Organic Produce

Located in the Genesee Valley Regional Market, at 900 Jefferson Road in Rochester, NY, Lori’s has expanded many times to accommodate their growth and now boasts a 14,500 square foot store carrying a complete line of groceries, including foods for individuals with food sensitivities, including wheat free, gluten free, low sodium, sugar free and dairy free. Lori’s has a huge selection of organic produce from local organic farmers. Bulk granola cereals, soy milk and yogurts are some of Jim’s personal favorites. An excellent variety of environmentally sound paper and cleaning products, personal care items and supplements can also be found at Lori’s. Customers looking for better choices are regulars at Lori’s, because Lori’s prides themselves on carrying products that other stores don’t have.

Jim and Dorie, now 85 and 81 years old, can still be found at Lori’s every Wednesday, where Jim does some ordering and writes articles for the monthly newsletter. “There are still people who stop to remind us that they have been with us since the first small store way back in 1981,” says Jim.

Berlin Natural Bakery Bread Loris Natural Foods

Lori works mostly from her home these days, quite a change from when she and her father were the only two employees and were at the store all day every-day that the store was open! Lori’s husband, John, has taken the reins and is at the store every day. Lori, who shies away from the limelight, is seen pictured below with John. Yes, she has a bag on her head and he is a banana!

Jim and Dorie Starks Loris Natural Food Center

Some years ago, John and Lori were approached by Bill Mulligan, Senior, an affiliate of the Genesee Valley Regional Market. A musician, Bill had a very catchy tune floating around in his head. John and Lori loved the song, and awhile later, after some “tweaking” in a sound studio they finally used it for a local TV ad. John and some other employees dressed up like fruits and vegetables for the commercial. The jingle is one of those that you just can’t keep from singing along with. It appealed to adults and children alike and is still very popular today… and so is Lori’s Natural Foods, where “you can be good to the earth and good to yourself every time you shop at Lori’s.”

*Lori’s Natural Food Center Limited-Time Special Offers*

To Celebrate our 29th Anniversary Here Is Our Special Offer To You!

29% Off These Two Products Below

1) Berlin Natural Bakery Whole Grain Spelt Bread

2) Berlin Natural Bakery Sprouted Spelt Bread

To take advantage of this special please mention this article to the checker by saying “I saw the article on Berlin Natural Bakery’s website” to get the discount on your selected products!

Offer Expires: October 17, 2010