Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

The bottom line

Today's natural product shopper is quite often looking for more than just the best deal on the goods they buy. Of course, price is important especially in challenging economic times. Yet, we're seeing a greater number of people who have elevated consciousness regarding the products they buy. They want to know what's behind the product, how is it produced, who are the growers, how was it processed, etc. For some, this quest for knowledge might seem excessive, but if these products command a premium, they will have to stand up to greater scrutiny.

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Living life off auto-pilot

Einstein famously stated that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Most of us agree with Einstein, in theory. Yet, just about as many of us definitely qualify for his diagnosis.

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The environment is changing in more ways than one

In 1997, the majority of retailers and suppliers were pioneers and founders of the health food industry and most had family-run businesses. Now, the majority of the health food industry is owned by very large corporations. This is not unusual in a high growth market, as corporations look for continual growth and shareholder return. That said, it does take some getting used to.

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Welcome Neighbour......Maybe?

So, another American retailer decided to set up shop in Canada. This time it is Nordstrom. Despite the fact that Canada's population is only about 10 per cent of the USA's, it seems to be an attractive proposition for American retailers to do business here in Canada. Sure, our economy seems to be in better shape than theirs, but even long before the North American economies soured, the Americans had a good retail presence in our country. So, why is it that they keep moving in?

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Gossip in the workplace

Does gossip in your workplace matter? If you define it as the Oxford Dictionary does as "casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true," gossip wastes staff time which lowers productivity, and diverts attention from customers which could impact sales. "..."

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Generate interest in YOUR store

We live in a world of multiple distractions, often occurring at the same time. People are rushed, impatient, and sometimes low on funds. How do we make our store stand out from the crowd? How do we gain their attention so that they not only choose us over the competition, but they choose to spend their time in our store over any other store in the mall or on the street?

Well, you have to make your store eye-catching and attractive. You have to find ways to not only be noticed, but to encourage passersby to stop in. I have a few ideas as to how to accomplish this, based on my experience of what customers like and the reasons why they seem to enjoy our store. 

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Prepare, Set, Sell

What are many food, drug, mass retailers and club warehouses strong at? Preparing for the holiday season. And one thing they have done particularly well is mastering the art of the gift basket. Not only do they prepare well in advance but they often offer a mix that suits every budget. Gift baskets simplifies a customer's life as they can easily pick up a gift for almost anyone, from the teacher or in-law to the new girlfriend.

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Maximizing Your In-store Promotion through Creative Merchandising

As I write this, I am in the process of launching two strictly in-store promotions. One involves a supplier- wide sale, the second involves only a family of products within a company's product line up. For both of these promotions, we are offering a blanket discount for an extended period of time, and neither one of these promotions has been advertised through media. I am attempting to generate interest and sales, simply with creative, eye-catching merchandising at the store level.

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What is it about your job that brings the most joy?

You love working produce and it is evident in everything you do: You set a great produce stand that is so beautiful people comment on it daily. Your customers love you. People come from miles around to shop your department even when there are stores closer to their home. You are the local farmers' best friend. You have the best selection of local produce in town and pay a fair price. Your years of experience have given you a wealth of organic produce knowledge. You love the food, and your passion is infectious.

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Got Vision? Getting to the essence of your store

Natural health retail stores and the beautiful people that work in these stores are known to ooze with passion. Hey, they're certainly not in it for the money (although that's where I want to take you!) They do it because they love it.  And they love to spread the word of natural health and wellbeing.

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Grow or... Die

Let me start by saying this article is not to be confused with the kind of growth that can kill you, which I recently experienced after Thanksgiving... but the kind of growth that makes you uncomfortable. Growth that amazes you and challenges you to be better than you are today. The growth that keeps you relevant and the growth that makes customers come back.

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The Value Of An Hour

Just a little while ago we were gifted with an extra hour. One extra hour. Without getting into a discussion about how this hour is merely pay-back for the one we lost earlier in the year, let's contemplate that hour for a moment. Did you use it well?

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Praise - a little goes a long way

Most of us would love it if our new and part-time employees would stick around and be a positive part of our crew for a long time. It saves us time and money, can create a better shopping environment and is definitely better for morale. In fact, those who really like working at our store often become our next round of managers.

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Product you know your stuff

This will be my third article in CNHR magazine and I am flattered that Bruce asked me a while ago to contribute to the well written editorials this magazine provides. I must admit, I am relatively new to the world of natural health food/products and I am learning a lot in a very short time.

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Exceptional merchandising

Five simple rules for exceptional merchandising

I believe that when it comes to running a successful business, customer service is hands-down the most important aspect. You can advertise, drop your prices, distribute flyers, and stock the place from floor to ceiling with every product on the market. But if customers come into your store and they are not satisfied with the way they are treated, or with the information they receive, they will most likely not return. I know I wouldn't return.

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Do you have a structure problem?

Sometimes what appears to be a performance problem—employees not doing the job up to your expectations—is actually a problem with the organizational structure of your business. If tasks go undone because they are falling off someone's overfull plate, or because they are on several different plates, or because they aren't on anyone's plate, you've got a structure problem.

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The emotional tone of your store

Recently, I sat in on a couple of sales and marketing seminars where both speakers mentioned "selling is all about emotion." Apparently, 75 per cent of retail purchasing decisions are based on emotion. If you want to have positive sales, you need to focus on creating an emotionally positive experience for your customers.

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Pampering your HABA customers

When it comes to your HABA customers this winter, think...P.A.M.P.E.R.

"How do you make it through the winter months?"   Have you heard this lately or have you seen this expression in your customer's eyes?  Winter is the time of year where your customers need to pamper and treat themselves with luxurious products and textures. While it is gray outside, you need to create a colourful in-store environment to cheer up your clientele! They need you to warm them up from the outside cold and to help soothe their dry, itchy skin from a heated home. Make your life easy and just remember one word: P.A.M.P.E.R. This acronym will help you to create an eye catching end cap!

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Looking good for the Holiday season

Let's be honest: the majority of your customers are starting to shop for their holiday gifts whether it be toys for the kids, clothes for the teenagers or the perfect dress for the office party or the family one. Just reading this can make your heart race. You can't help but wonder if after all their gift buying, if your customers will have enough disposable income to spend in your store. So, how do you catch their attention during this holiday season? Quite simply, be prepared and get them what they need!

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Make your team meetings a success

Do you hold regular meetings with your staff?  Are you considering such meetings but are concerned about what the cost will be?

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CNHR News Podcast

cnhr radio hour

News, Views and Happenings in the world of Canadian Natural Health.

Check out this month's podcast here

July/August Issue


It is the once-a-year issue of CNHR where we turn the spotlight on to our industry suppliers. We share your stories of innovation, determination and creativity in bringing your products to market. It is the opportunity for suppliers to show and tell how they support the natural health retailers.

What is the "deal?"

It is our best offer of the year: When you buy a full or half page ad, you get a FREE full or half page to tell your company’s story. In this issue, our editorial is your company story.

Contact: Candace Sicari - or Katherine Stevens -

Community Board

Watch here for Job Postings, Wanted Ads, For Hire, etc. To add, contact Donna

Check out the Community Board