Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

You are a new retailer, or have simply never attended a CHFA trade show before, it's a worthwhile event to consider.  Attending a CHFA show can be a great experience and a lot of benefit to your store.

Spring is in the air and that means longer hours of sunshine in the day, more people out and about, and putting the cold winter behind us for another year. In terms of the Canadian health food industry, spring also represents something else, and that is CHFA West in beautiful Vancouver.

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Build the Crew Before You Build the Walls

Build the Crew Before You Build the Walls

When you're in the "expansion zone" there's more to think about than construction

You're in the "expansion zone" when every possible inch of sales floor space is filled, and even the ceiling has hanging baskets of product. It is amazing that you can move in your back room, let alone process orders. New products are coming out that your customers would buy if you could stock them, yet your customer count continues to climb.

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Bad apples in your workplace?

"One bad apple spoils the barrel." Intuitively we know this maxim is true. Research at the University of Washington Business School affirms it.

Will Felps, Terence Mitchell and Eliza Byington defined three types of bad apples:
• Slackers who don't do their share of the work
• Perennially unhappy pessimists
• Mean-spirited bullies

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Holding on to the good ones

The assumption has been made that you've already searched, interviewed, interviewed again, reference-checked the ideal candidate and they've accepted the position – so now what? How do you keep them, or more importantly, how do you keep them happy?

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Your store might have a weight problem

Now that the busy Christmas season has passed, no doubt many of your customers will be seeking one thing, and that's weight loss. Perhaps we should all take a cue from the trends of the season and consider slimming down ourselves. I'm not talking about physically, but rather, the breadth of our stores. Has your store gotten a little inflated lately with too many product offerings? Do you suffer from too many options and too much inventory? What about leftover Christmas merchandise?

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Merchandising can make a difference

We all know the importance of merchandising but all too often, it gets overlooked as more orders arrive and new products need a home and flyers start and so on and so on. Before you know it, you're back to square one, attempting to organize and beautify your store again!

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Are you singing the AM/PM blues?

Do you have the AM/PM blues in your produce department? I recently overheard a couple of kids playing, and when one of them spilled some paint they were using, I heard him say, "It's not my fault, and you had the jar too close to my arm."

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Does Merit Pay Really Work?

The idea seems simple. If you pay high-performing workers more than low-performing ones, the former will stay and keep producing at a high level, while the latter will leave or have incentive to improve.

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Out with the old, in with the new

That's how the saying goes, but, it is often easier said than done. In an ever changing and evolving marketplace, how do you keep up with trends and supply adequate stock of what will be in demand, without running the risk of becoming overstocked and eventually burned with too much inventory of a product that nobody wants anymore? It's a continuous game of balance, guessing and timely purchasing and unless you're a very lucky person, highly skilled at predicting the future, at some point you are going to end up with extra product that isn't selling.

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On my mind...

This month I'd like to offer you a variety of short comments. These are small things of interest or have been on my mind a while.

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The 3 P's: Price, Profit and Pride

For any business to succeed, there are a few criteria to be met. Without fail, the one that stands out the most seems to be profitability. Of course, if a business is not profitable, why continue? What's the point?

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Great Expectations

A conversation I often have with general managers, owners, and produce managers these days concerns how to take their produce to the next level. My usual answer to the question is multi-layered, depending on where the department is at that moment.

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Organic Week Returns this September

Across the country, communities, retailers, farmers and organic producers will be celebrating Organic Week from September 21 to 28 this year. Now in its fourth year, Canada's National Organic Week is a celebration of certified organic food, farming and products produced across Canada and it has grown quickly into the biggest marketing event of the year for organic retailers.

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Consumer Choice: Retailers are growing a Non-GMO future

Vogue, O Magazine, Reader's Digest, and major Canadian papers from Toronto to Vancouver — the non-GMO movement is rapidly becoming front-page news. The release of genetically engineered apples, salmon, and alfalfa would have an enormous impact on both retail and export markets, and pose risks to environment, food safety, and food sovereignty. Farmers, activists, and members of parliament are discussing GMOs, and groups in 32 US states are working to require labelling of food produced through genetic engineering. While the political battles are waged, we all keep eating. Our farmers keep growing crops, and weekly, we go to the store for greens and groceries.

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An excellent marketing tool to promote your store, products and people

Health food stores are running out of ideas to promote themselves. Newspaper ads, handing out flyers and expensive Internet promotions may not have worked as well as you expected. These methods may have left you wondering, "What's next?"

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Tracking your customer traffic

Today, over 50 per cent of North American specialty retailers have installed traffic monitoring systems in some or all stores. However, despite the increasingly sophisticated nature of the technology, many retailers have failed to capitalize on the full potential of traffic counting systems and convert the information into what they need most: a significant increase in sales.

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Juice Up Your Training

In a previous column, I described the differences between visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Most of us use all three styles to learn, absorbing information through a combination of hearing, seeing, and touching or otherwise physically interacting with what we're learning about.

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The power of celebrity

Don't ever underestimate the power of celebrity. Since 2005, our Nutrition House store has come to realize the power of building celebrity status within the community. While in store promotions and displays help to catch the consumers' eye as they walk by, it's our celebrity that is truly drawing them in and making our store a destination. By this I mean, for the past eight years, we have done commercial radio shows and advertisements that have helped to build our notoriety within the community.

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Emotional tone and body language

The body speaks louder than words...

Apparently, during a conversation, our words amount to only seven per cent of how the other person perceives what we are saying. Our tone of voice (38 per cent) and body language (55 per cent) make up the rest. I guess it is the old story about you will trust the mechanic with the most grease under his nails. Many books are available that help with tone and body language insights to help you improve in business and career. Reading 30 minutes every day on ways to improve your business skills gets you 1/40,000 closer to mastering your craft...patience.

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Retailer-vendor relationships

If you think of your most successful account or vendor, what makes it unique? How is it different from others? Most likely, it's your relationship with them. Many retailers have the mentality of "I'm the customer" and don't feel the need to foster a relationship with vendors. Vice versa, some vendors think that they don't have to service accounts because their product has enough demand, it sells itself, why waste resources on a sales force.

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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