Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

4 minutes reading time (713 words)

The Recommender

Perhaps the most important role in natural retailing 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.

Over the past five-plus decades, millions of Canadians have benefited from safe and effective natural products sold at local health food stores. A lot of credit for these safe effective choices goes to the people working in the store...the recommenders!

One of the things I truly admire about the front line recommenders is their dedication to product knowledge. Some are NDs or RNC’s, while most have taken courses or have a degree in nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, diet, sports nutrition, Chinese medicine, EFT, vibrational medicine or other modalities which help the consumer make the best choice.

Recommenders also put in many extra hours going to supplier trainings, reading health books and following current information online. The learning never ends. Just take a look at the variety of products on the shelves.  According to Health Canada, over 50,000 products are licensed. Most stores carry 5,000 individual supplement SKUs. Keeping up and continually improving their product knowledge is a full-time commitment.

A sincere interest in helping people is also important. Most people, who shop in a health food store, especially for the first time, are looking for ways to improve their health. The recommender often plays an important part in helping a customer make their choice and fielding their questions. “What is the difference between these probiotics? Which fish oil is best? Do you have gluten-free? Does it taste good? Can I take it with _____? Do you have anything for _____ ? What form of calcium is it? Is it GMO? When is the best time to take this? Can I take it with food? Does it help with... ?”  The list of questions is virtually endless.

When they do not know the answer, top recommenders take an interest in finding out.  Whether asking fellow staff or suppliers, researching books or online, the recommender takes time to make sure the customer finds answers and solutions to satisfy their needs.

The experienced recommender understands a better educated customer will buy and benefit more. They always look for ways to help educate their customers to understand how to take responsibility for their own health. They know a sale is not final unless the customer leaves with product information supporting their purchase.   The health food store recommenders deserve a lot of credit for everything they do. A BIG THANK YOU to all of you across Canada!!

One final note, if you haven’t already, this is a must read for anyone in business:  Profit Yourself Healthy, by Dave Fuller.  It offers practical, sane advice to increase profit for any size business!

Go to for more more information.

   Happy Sales to You…•

Health Store/Rebel Retailer Creed

I ran across this from an article I wrote in the early 2000’s for CNHR and felt it was worth another look. See what you do well and where you may improve.  Remember, what you do every day makes a difference in the lives of the people in your community!

• I bring passion, enthusiasm and emotion to my job.

• I am committed to making a difference.

• I will lead the charge to bring the message of natural health

   to my community.

• I do not fear the competition but welcome them as they

   make me stronger.

• I will spy on the competition and understand their strengths

   and weaknesses.

• My store is a reflection of the dedication I have to my customers

   and I am proud of the way it looks and feels.

• I will be impeccable in my integrity and deliver what I promise.

• I will be proud of what I stand for.

• I will laugh a lot, have fun and, if I mess up, know that this is how

   I learn and is as normal as breathing.

• I will never sell anyone something I would not take if I was in their shoes.

• I will be grateful for having the opportunity to give service to my

   community in a way that has such a strong impact on people's

   lives......I am truly blessed.


CNHR News Podcast

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

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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