Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

Produce does its part in keeping the planet green

Everywhere you look these days, you see how people are becoming more green or sustainable in their lives and looking for places to shop that reflect their values. Many stores have been running their business with these principles for years,­ offering recycling, providing cloth bags, or redesigning or building their store to meet LEED certification. Every department pitches in one way or the other and the produce department is no exception.

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Employee orientation essential for new hires

Recently hired people need not only training in the responsibilities for their specific jobs, but also an orientation to the policies, customs and expectations required of all employees. Natural retailers have the further responsibility of orienting new workers to the owners' philosophy of health and nutrition.

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Connect and thrive

If you're reading this article, you're in the healing business. That means you very likely understand the basics of what we require to maintain health: nutritious food, regular activity, adequate rest – and, of course, judicious use of supplements, natural health products and self-care! But there is another aspect of creating optimal health that doesn't get much play. Research shows a consistent link between the quantity and quality of our social connections and our risk of death from a wide range of causes. (1) On the other hand, strong connections lead to stronger immune function and longevity. (2) And, undoubtedly, healthy relationships boost our mood and outlook.

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Experience the "experience"

Before I retired from one of Canada's most successful retail organizations, I had many opportunities to travel across Canada and the US to visit many different retailers and their stores. That was one of the "fringe benefits" of the job.

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Helping customers find the right product

The Recommender

Perhaps the most important role in the natural product business is the role of the recommender... the person who helps choose which product will bring the greatest benefit and value to the end user, the consumer.

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Spring clean your store

Spring is in the air and it's time for one of my favourite activities of the year, spring cleaning. Nothing feels better than getting rid of the old and possibly bringing in the new. Spring is a time of renewal and re-awakening and provides us with a great opportunity to de-clutter and re-fresh our workspace and surrounding environment.

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Picking the Perfect Produce

Two things occurred last week: first, I was working in a produce department. As I worked, I was watching a customer pick out a pineapple; as he picked up each one, he would flick it with his index finger to check for ripeness. Then he would pull out a leaf from the green top, and finally he would smell it. Of course only one of these - smelling - will let him know ripeness. Then I watched a woman shake and listen to a plum. This got me thinking that many produce customers could use a lesson in the world of picking produce. So here we go with a few of your summer favourites!

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The art of sales in a produce department

I was walking through the park the other day and stopped to watch a woman painting a landscape.

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Sit and Play

What is it about your job that brings you 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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Produce Section Time Management

Reviewing how you spend your day can reveal some simple ways to regain lost minutes or hours

I'd like to touch on a few areas of difficulty I run into most often in produce departments, with the aim of helping readers recognize and eliminate obstacles to running a productive and efficient department.

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Growing your natural pet food section

Marketing expert Doug Muldoon and retail managers Christine Lyon and Tammy Burns of Foodsmiths give us a glimpse into the multi-million dollar pet industry and ways to tell us how to take advantage of this growing market.

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Interview Right

The job interview is your best tool for making the right hiring decision. You can't count on references, and resumes are designed to make the candidate look good.

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Seasonal Merchandising

Health food stores aren't the typical shopping venue for the average Christmas gift seeker. That being said, it is the busiest shopping season of the year and savvy health store owners would be smart to plan some sort of Christmas promotion.

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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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CNHR News Podcast

cnhr radio hour

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

Check out this month's podcast here

Coming Up in the Next Issue...

CHFA West :  February 22-25

Reach your key retail customers in CNHR’s Show Preview Issue.

An early show requires early messaging. Get your Spring sales message out early with an ad in CNHR. Reach the key retailers well before CHFA West. Here’s what your ad can do for you:

• share your spring promotional plan with all retailers

• help your sales team reach sales targets

• introduce your new products BEFORE the show

• tell retailers about your show specials early

• help open doors for your sales team

• create traffic at your booth

• solidify brand loyalty

• tell retailers about your new services, too!

• support all of your in-store, digital and consumer marketing efforts

Advertisers: FREE value-added features As an advertiser, you’ll be in one of our biggest issues of the year. (There will be loads of bonus circulation during CHFA West.) Along with your ad being viewed by more than 10,000 owners, managers, buyers, product recommenders and floor sales staff, you also get some great free editorial opportunities, including Trade Talk, Product Profiles and Pre-Show Buzz. Here are the details: Trade Talk is one of the highest read sections of CNHR and your vital link with retailers. Keep current and potential new customers updated on your new products, new staff, new website, new promotions, etc. Deadline for Trade Talk: November 7

We have lots of advertising options at many price points. Tell me what ad size you’re considering or what your budget is, and I will personally customize a proposal just for you. I’ll explain all of the value-added features CNHR has to offer your company!

Please contact:     donna@cnhr.ca, candace@cnhr.ca, katherine@cnhr.ca

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