It’s been 20 years since Donna Yamamoto spent some very long hours renovating her new retail space. “I remember the hours - my knees and back were sore from scraping the glue off the floor to prepare for the new flooring.” Donna was 31 years old with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and a majoring in psychology when she found the empty 632 square foot retail space for her store, Good Nature Health Foods in North Vancouver.
I took a loan from the “bank of Mom and Dad, which I eventually paid back,” says Donna. “My aunt had a health food store in Sardis and I had spent a short time there volunteering to see if this type of business was for me, and found that it was!”
With 20 years of success, Donna has more than proved this was the business for her. Donna credits the store’s longevity to honesty, integrity and respect for customers. “Our customers keep coming back because of the sense of community we create in our store. They feel like they can trust us with their health concerns and I think they feel like we see them as friends. We listen and acknowledge them. We care and we are knowledgeable.”
Donna and staff are particularly knowledgeable about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. It’s one of the things that she believes sets them apart from other stores. “When I began, we were one of the few stores specializing in gluten-free foods. Now everyone has it. But not everyone has the extensive knowledge you need to have to deal with this lifestyle.”
Customers have appreciated this knowledge over the years and, in turn, Donna has shown her appreciation for them by throwing a giant customer appreciation party every year. “We have a hot lunch and an all-day extravaganza of baked samples from our many generous suppliers,” says Donna.
On the menu for the party this year was Donna’s famous chicken mirabella, organic brown rice and quinoa spinach salad. Hot tea was served and there was organic blueberry juice for the kids. This is no small party. Approximately 400 customers attend and Donna spends over 40 hours baking for the event. “I baked dozens of carrot muffins, trays of brownies, cheesecakes, almond flour scones, apple crisps, nut and fruit bars, fresh bread, chocolate bundt cake, zucchini cake and lastly, a crowd favourite – my salmon and sundried tomato dip,” says Donna.
Of course, with an event of this magnitude, the preparation is just as huge. Donna’s manager Lorraine Lightfoot organizes generous gift basket giveaways from suppliers months in advance and Donna herself spent seven hours the week prior personally calling and inviting all of her customers.
There is no doubt this personal attention to detail and to customers is what has kept Good Nature Health Foods top of mind to the residents of North Vancouver for 20 years.....and possibly 20 more.
“I want to continue to serve and be the health hub of the community and to continue to bring in a new and exciting mix of healthy food hoices for our customers.”
News, Views and Happenings in the world of Canadian Natural Health.
• Launch your new products
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Retailers want to see more of your new products. So, we’re making it easier for you and them.
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