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Sequoia Natural and Organic

sequoia bulk binsDanielle Gauvin is one of the bright rising retail stars in Canada.  She owns two beautiful Sequoia Natural & Organic stores in Moncton, N.B. 

 Danielle Gauvin is one of the bright rising retail stars in Canada.  She owns two beautiful Sequoia Natural & Organic stores in Moncton, N.B. 

Sequoia was founded 15 years ago: Danielle bought the downtown store in June 2015 and the Dieppe location in the summer of 2018.  CNHR caught up with Danielle recently for a quick Q & A session on what’s happening with her stores.


CNHR: You have a PR background…why did you buy health food stores?

Danielle: My passion for owning a small business started six years ago when I was working for the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Working with small businesses on a daily basis allowed me to understand the direct impact they have on community.   I was drawn to the idea of owning a local store that could support and have a positive impact on my own community by hiring local employees, contributing charitable donations and of course, helping my community become healthier physically and mentally. 

Public relations and community building is a big part of what I do at Sequoia Downtown and Dieppe. We are continuously educating on the value of buying local, on healthy active living and nutrition.  I have developed a broad base of relationships not only with our customers but also with community organizations and partners. CNHR: What major changes have you made since coming in?

Danielle: When I bought the first store, the Sequoia brand was already established. I loved the idea of purchasing a store that the greater Moncton community already loved and trusted. Over the last few years, I have  tried to focus on community – whether that is donating money back into my community, sponsoring events, participating in community outreach programs, or having free in-store events and talks. When you support your community, your community supports you.  

sequoia dry goodsOther changes include making sure we are on top of product selection. With health food becoming more mainstream, we want to make sure we have the best products to offer our customers. We don’t sacrifice on ingredients or sourcing (we try and source everything locally or within Canada). Our trained nutritional experts thoroughly research every product before it hits our shelves, ensuring quality ingredients for best results. We also aim at having a large variety of speciality products that fit within all of our customers’ needs. 

CNHR: What are you doing to connect with customers?

Danielle: Connecting with customers is connecting with your community. By showing your community you support them, they will support you back. Being a young woman from Moncton, it truly makes me proud to be able to give back to my community. 

Other ways in which we connect with our customers is getting to know them. My team and myself truly do believe in everything the stores have to offer. Within the health food world, you are subject to very personal questions from customers every day. It is our goal to ensure we respect our customers’ individual needs and build trust and relationships. We know our customers, their families and their hardships and they know us. The bond that we have developed with our customer base is unbreakable. We have created a safe space within Moncton for our community to come and to learn how to feel better mentally and physically. 

sequoia binsCNHR: What are some of the things that make Sequoia unique?

Danielle: Sequoia Downtown and Dieppe are two of the largest health food stores in New Brunswick, which means we offer a very large selection of products for our customers.  We also have nutritional experts on staff seven days a week. Whether it is a holistic nutritionist, sport nutritionist or holistic wellness coach, having nutritional experts on staff allows us to bring the store to another level – a level in which customers can come in and have a complete experience. It’s somewhere they can go and get trusted advice for themselves or their loved ones. We know how overwhelming it can be to walk down the health food aisle and not know where to start. That is why I have made it a priority to have a team who can give expert advice on a wide range of health concerns. 

In addition, Sequoia Dieppe has practitioner offices within the store, making this a one-stop shop for health. We have Karine Essiembre, who is our in-house holistic esthetician and we also have Rose-Marie Saulnier who is our in-house naturopath. 

We believe having Karine and Rose-Marie helps to elevate the customer experience. Customers can come and shop and get advice from the holistic nutritionist, but if they want to take it a step further and have a consultation, they are able to go see Rose-Marie. 

We know the “green beauty” industry can be scary at first. Therefore, again, having an expert like Karine in-house makes it that much easier and accommodating for our customers. 

Often, people ask if our experts’ services are free and they are. It is part of the Sequoia Downtown and Dieppe experience – knowing you can shop and get the advice you need, whether you are new to this industry or have been a customer for years. This is maybe the major thing that allows Sequoia Downtown and Dieppe to stand apart from other stores.

We also have many other features that differentiate us, such as our smoothie bar, fresh meals to go and our kombucha on tap!  

CNHR: The Dieppe store is attached to a yoga studio…what does this mean for your business?

Danielle: We absolutely love having Pura Vida Yoga attached to our Dieppe store. It is also locally owned and operated, which is amazing! I think it is easy to see the connection between yoga and holistic health. Having both in one building make it an easy place for customers to come and enjoy themselves. 

sequoia smoothie barCNHR: What is the advantage of a smoothie bar?  And do you think all health food stores should have one?

Danielle: We love having a smoothie bar. When you are a health food store promoting health and healthy living, having options that are quick and healthy for your customers is a must. As we now see a growing trend in “ready to eat” meals, we see the smoothie bar continuing to expand.

CNHR: You brought in a PR background and “came in with fresh eyes.” How were you able to apply your PR experience to the business?

Danielle: I think having a background in public relations really allowed me to take the marketing of Sequoia Downtown and  Sequoia Dieppe to another level. I think having a different background than many other health food owners, or even my team,  brings a new point of view and perspective.

Although my background is not in health, I do live this lifestyle. And so for me, I utilized my PR background by communicating with my community how amazing these stores are and how my team and the products we have can truly make you feel better. 

CNHR: Both of your parents are entrepreneurs…what have you learned from them?

Danielle: The biggest thing I have learned from my parents is work ethic. Both of my parents are successful business leaders in greater Moncton and although both work in completely different industries, one undeniable commonality between them is their work ethic. No matter what you choose to do in life, work hard.  I was extremely lucky to grow up in a household where no matter what myself or my brother wanted to do, we were always encouraged. My parents really opened the doors and encouraged us to pursue our dreams and take the leap. Having that support system and coming from a family who truly believes in your abilities is something that I am always grateful for. 

CNHR: Any big plans on the horizon? 

Danielle: I would love to continue to expand and own more Sequoia stores in the future! 


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