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San Tai's Natural Health

San Tai ownersNestled in the small, charming town of Virden, Manitoba sits the equally small and charming San Tai Health Foods. For rookie retailer Kathy Hamilton, Virden was the ideal place to open her first health food store in 2010. "The population is around 3,500 and higher with surrounding areas, so it is a bit bigger than a small town but doesn't have the city atmosphere. Virden is a very progressive small community with agriculture and oilfields keeping the town in full motion."

Located in southwestern Manitoba, Virden first developed as a farming community, but when oil was discovered in 1951, it soon became known as the "oil capital of Manitoba." But oil and farming aren't the only things Virden is known for. It is also known for it's beauty. In 1920, it was nicknamed "Virden the Beautiful" and was one of the first communities to participate in the Communities in Bloom program. Since it's participation, Virden has been recognized for achievements in the areas of heritage preservation, environmental programs and a long term vision for the environment. (source www.virden.ca) And of course it's home to San Tai Health Foods. Kathy took some time recently to tell us about her 900 ft. sq. store and her experiences as a new retailer.

 

San Tai ownersNestled in the small, charming town of Virden, Manitoba sits the equally small and charming San Tai Health Foods. For rookie retailer Kathy Hamilton, Virden was the ideal place to open her first health food store in 2010. "The population is around 3,500 and higher with surrounding areas, so it is a bit bigger than a small town but doesn't have the city atmosphere. Virden is a very progressive small community with agriculture and oilfields keeping the town in full motion."

Located in southwestern Manitoba, Virden first developed as a farming community, but when oil was discovered in 1951, it soon became known as the "oil capital of Manitoba." But oil and farming aren't the only things Virden is known for. It is also known for it's beauty. In 1920, it was nicknamed "Virden the Beautiful" and was one of the first communities to participate in the Communities in Bloom program. Since it's participation, Virden has been recognized for achievements in the areas of heritage preservation, environmental programs and a long term vision for the environment. (source www.virden.ca) And of course it's home to San Tai Health Foods. Kathy took some time recently to tell us about her 900 ft. sq. store and her experiences as a new retailer.

Tells us a little bit about the store.

We carry a bit of everything - vitamins and minerals from A to Z, gluten-free, raw and organic products, salt lamps, cleanses, natural skin care products, honey and bee products, probiotics, and much more.

San Tai seatingWhat do you think makes San Tai's unique and different from other health food stores?

The store is very welcoming and warm, not clinical. Every space has a section such as for baby, for men, for teens etc. I also offer reflexology, the vibration machine and a health practitioner comes in every six to eight weeks.

What are some of the challenges you have faced owning a health food store and how did or do you overcome them?

Trying to cover everyone's wants! I do my best to keep the store very well stocked, and always try to offer something new and different.

Why do you think customers keep coming back to San Tai's?

Probably for our huge selection, a great membership program, and making the time to listen and talk to customers. It's a very friendly and warm atmosphere.

What is the membership program and how does it work?

We offer a $10 lifetime membership which entitles the customer to 10 per cent off products all the time. It is an incentive for people to return and shop during all seasons, not just when sales are on.

San Tai natural beautyWhat were some of the challenges of opening your own health food store?

Some of the challenges were learning what to stock in the store, learning who your clientele would be and getting to know suppliers and the products that were available.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

To be truthful, I am so happy with the way the store turned out. The customers are awesome. I would not really change anything.

San Tai natural productsWhat is your advice to other retailers thinking of opening a health food store or who want to have a successful retail business?

My advice would be to follow your passion. The health food industry has been in my thoughts and dreams for 25 years. I am so happy to have the opportunity to live the dream and learn more about natural health, as I do believe it is the way to optimum health.

 

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