Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

Natural product advisor course

alive health advisorThe Natural Product Advisor course is designed to help you become more knowledgeable about the natural health industry in Canada. You will have a strong understanding of product sales and regulations to specific topics and health concerns that shoppers often ask about.              Email studentservices@aliveacademy.com

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ZEN sports spray

martin and pleasance sports sprayaNow available - ZEN Sports Spray. Formulated for use before and after sporting activities as needed. Contains arnica for relief of minor injuries, bruises and muscle aches. Addition of Chinese herbs helps promote blood circulation and relieve inflammation and swelling. www.martinandpleasance.ca

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Gut health supplement

msprebiotic gut healthMSPrebiotic is a Manitoba-made, shelf-stable, clinically evaluated natural health supplement that strengthens the gut microbiome to improve digestive function and increase energy for the body. For more information, visit us at  www.MSPrebiotic.ca

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Support for several body systems

vitanica rhodiolaRhodiola is a versatile herb supporting several body systems, especially endocrine and central nervous system and cognitive functions. Vitanica’s Rhodiola includes the standardized extract of Rhodiola rosea root, the most researched species, plus the whole root of the same species, offering a synergistic blend of the compounds in this tonic herb. For a complete product list and pricing for Vitanica products available in Canada, visit ecotrend.ca   For detailed product information visit vitanica.com

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The Great Vine, Huntsville, ON

the great vine health storeCome the warmer weather – late spring until Thanksgiving – Huntsville, Ontario is a pretty happening place.  Come the warmer weather – late spring until Thanksgiving – Huntsville, Ontario is a pretty happening place.

Located slightly more than 200 kilometres north of Toronto, it is situated in the municipality of Muskoka, a district that boasts over 1,600 lakes.  The district has a legitimate claim as Canada’s most popular summer vacation haven, when the population more than doubles.

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Antioxidant action of Wasabi

wasabi natural immexExperience the double action antioxidant benefits of Wasabi! Unlike other antioxidants (Vitamin C), Wasabi combines both a direct and indirect antioxidant benefit, providing extended antioxidant support. Health Canada’s only 100% certified Wasabi Capsules are available through the HUB DC. For more information, please visit www.yourwasabi.com  Contact us at 855/314-3411 or orderdesk@hubdc.ca

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Homeopathic line for pets

homeocan homeovetHomeocan launches HomeoVet, a new vet line of fourteen remedies pharmaceuticaly formulated. This HomeoVet line takes care of any health concerns of our furry friends, such as RescueVet. RescueVet helps maintain general physical and emotional balance.

homeocan.ca

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Strengthen and restore adrenal glands

adrenal gland martin and pleasanceDo you have customers who are feeling fatigued, exhausted, anxious, run down and are struggling to sleep and easily becoming ill? They may be suffering adrenal fatigue, due to a long period of emotional stress. Help them to strengthen and restore their adrenal glands in just one 6-week course with Harmony Restore.

Martinandpleasance.ca info@orionsam.com

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Blue light protection

prairie naturals blue lightHow does OcuBlue protect against blue light? Healthy eyes have their own protective layer of pigment-saturated cells called the retinal pigment epithelium. These pigmented cells are naturally rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and other carotenoids provided by an antioxidant-rich diet. Recent scientific research shows that daily supplementation with the specific antioxidant phyto-nutrients used to formulate OcuBlue prevents and mitigates the damaging effects of blue light.     www.prairienaturals.ca

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Women’s iron product

carlson womens ironCarlson has introduced a new product for women. Women’s Iron Restore provides 28mg of iron to promote healthy blood production, B complex vitamins to support red blood cell formation, and vitamin C and copper for optimal iron absorption.  

carlsonlabs.com

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The problem no one wants to talk about

employee theftA client, who I’ll call Mary, is the owner of a small natural foods store. A new bookkeeper had been on the job for several months before Mary studied the bank records and realized $15,000 had disappeared. Mary confronted the bookkeeper, who sobbed that she'd "borrowed" the money to pay her mortgage. Mary was touched by this story. She intended to fire the bookkeeper, but should she report the theft to the police? She was concerned about ruining the bookkeeper’s employability in their small town.

Charges pressed

Eventually Mary decided to press charges, which were reported in the local paper. At that point, two former employers of the bookkeeper called Mary to apologize for withholding information when she’d called them for references. Apparently this employee had stolen from them too, and told the same compelling story. Also Mary got a call from the bookkeeper's new employer who read the newspaper, checked his bank records, and sure enough, she’d already stolen from him.

In the end, in a court-ordered settlement, the bookkeeper agreed to pay restitution, and eventually did pay back most of what she’d stolen.

This story made me wonder how many small businesses with kind-hearted owners are vulnerable to employee theft because they just can't believe it's possible.

According to the Retail Council of Canada, employees steal an average of $2,500 in cash or goods from their employer before they're caught. On average, customers steal about $175. In addition, the Council estimates 566,000 undetected employee thefts occur across Canada annually.

For insight, I turned to Mike Feiner, loss prevention specialist and my colleague in CDS Consulting Co-op.

In Feiner’s experience, even employers that provide good wages and benefits, opportunities for advancement and great co-workers can still be subject to theft. “People can operate with a split consciousness and find ways to rationalize what they know is wrong. “Address the opportunity first,” he advises. “The motives we can’t control.”

If you’re thinking, “I don’t want to live in fear and suspicion of my staff,” Feiner’s advice may counter that impression. He recommends regular individual check-ins. “Get to know who they are, what’s happening in their lives, any signs of stress. You might find creative ways to help them such as changes in schedule or getting financial counselling.” You are sending the message that you care, but also the message that you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the store.

Focus on your policies and procedures to make sure they are clear and well understood. For example, an overly complicated staff discount system can be open to misinterpretation and abuse. If there are no portion controls, employees could be tempted to put more ingredients in a sandwich made for a friend than for other customers.

Check more thoroughly

Have someone besides the cashier check the cash in the till at closeout. Regularly check your POS reports for line items showing an extraordinary number of voids. If you find them, start paying attention to what’s happening at that till.

Even check the dumpster from time to time. Feiner says, “Hiding stolen goods behind or in the dumpster in a trash bag is one of the most common forms of theft.”

If you don’t do your own books, reconcile the books with the bank statements yourself instead of leaving it to your bookkeeper. Talk to your bank about safeguards such as an alert when deposits seem unusually low.

Would your employees steal from you? Hopefully not. But stay aware. As Feiner says, “If you’re not looking for employee theft, you’re not going to see it, but it’s often right in front of your face.”

To contact Feiner about loss prevention strategies, please go to:

http://www.cdsconsulting.coop/consultants/paul-feiner

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Fail to win

fail to winFailure is the quickest way to success. The faster you fail and learn from your failures, the faster you will determine a way to succeed.

Thomas Edison is a classic example. When he was asked if he was discouraged after attempting thousands of times to invent the light bulb, he replied “No, I am thousands of times closer to making it work.” Passion with persistence overcomes the fear of failure.

A recent study made to fail.  There were three groups

 

1. Business people

2 .Engineers

3. Kindergarteners

Each group was given spaghetti, marshmallows and duct tape. The objective was to build the highest structure to hold marshmallows.

They had 15 minutes to discuss among each other and 18 minutes to build. The kids won. The engineers came in at a close second and the business folks came in at a distant last.

Why did kids win over educated, experienced adults? Kids started immediately putting it together, failing over and over, until they got it. The engineers took some time to discuss but then started failing. Meanwhile, the business folks sat around discussing it so by the time they started, it was too late to learn from their mistakes, leaving them far behind.

So perhaps instead of sitting around ad infinitum in a “bored” room with the management teams discussing the annual sales plans, strategic initiatives, sales marketing objectives, competitor’s activities, budgeting proposals, and appeasing the bean counters so no one looks bad - Just Do It!!!

Listen up!

The ability to listen has been proven to build trust, lower sales resistance, build self-esteem and heal. A feeling of trust is the key to long-term customer engagement. But how do you listen? When a customer is speaking, make sure the spotlight is on them, not you.

Questions combined with active listening increases sales and customer retention. Ask questions to clarify the need of the customer. For example: “Do you want a therapeutic or preventative strength natural medicine? Have you been on a cleanse before? Have you used XYZ? Are you on medication?”

These types of questions help you quickly identify an effective choice so the customer is satisfied with results. It also gets the customer speaking, which allows you to listen attentively, creating an energy of trust and respect. With mindful practice to listen better, you will notice positive results in your personal relationships, and in your overall wellbeing.

I understand in today’s high-traffic stores, engaging customers is becoming less and less possible. Yet it is the foundation of our industry – to share the unique benefits of the products we sell.

Look how difficult it is to keep up with all the new products on the market with a wide variety of ingredients from all over the globe. Is it organic, free trade, non-GMO, ethical, gluten-free, grass fed, vegan, paleo, local, etc….

The “interNUT” is full of nonsense on natural heath products which as you know brings in customers with all sorts of ‘ideas’ about natural health. Some sound whacky and some are intentionally created to deceive.

Most stores have well-trained staff with accredited nutritional expertise to help guide the consumer to make a good choice within the ever expanding natural lifestyle movement. Yet sharing knowledge is not the best way to build trust.

The words you use during a conversation with the customer have little effect on building trust or engagement. Some studies suggest only a seven per cent effect.   Your tone of voice and body language speak far louder than words of nutritional advice in building long-term customer relationships.

In Whatever Arises Love That by Matt Kahn, he has these loving words on listening: “When human interactions become a way of practicing self-acceptance by treating others with more patience, kindness, and respect, a constant need to be heard drifts into listening as an act of love”.

I believe the business that listens best will become the trusted voice of natural health in the local buying community.

   Happy sales!

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WomenSense announces spring 2018 campaign in support of Canadian Women’s Foundation

assured naturalsSince 1991, the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) has funded programs that work to change the lives of women and girls in more than 1,500 communities across Canada. The CWF is one of the ten largest women’s foundations in the world.

This year in particular, women and girls are raising their voices against abuse and for fair and equal treatment.

In its seventh year supporting the CWF, WomenSense – along with Assured Natural Distribution – has announced its spring 2018 campaign. The funds raised through this campaign contribute to ground-breaking programs and services for women and girls in your local areas, creating safer families, stronger communitie, and a more prosperous society for all. When retailers participate in the spring campaign by recommending WomenSense products throughout the year, you are helping to empower women and girls to move out of violence, out of poverty and into confidence and leadership.

Ask your account manager how you can be involved. Assured Natural Distribution thanks retailers for their continued support of its commitment to the CWF. 888/826-9625

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Guelph Organic Conference continues to build momentum

 

guelph organic conferenceThe Guelph Organic Conference continues to focus on Canada's rapid organic sector growth. “The show was great with lots of new energy,” said conference manager Tomas Nimmo, in reference to the event which took place Jan 25-28. “We had plenty of new exhibitors join our regulars.

‘Lots of exceptional sales’ is what I heard from many of them. Trade show shoppers are already convinced and knowledgeable about the benefits of organics, which our vendors love.”

The conference is also known as a hub for organic sector networking. "It's the place where many future organic marketing projects get their start and then take flight in the following months," Tomas added.

As interest in organics continues to increase, the conference saw workshop attendance grow and strong interest in the trade show.

Planning for next year’s event has begun. If you are interested in exhibitor or sponsorship opportunities, contact Tomas at 705/444-0923 or organix@auracom.com

 

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Toronto retailer marks 20 years of fighting bullying and racism

wholesome marketTaslim and Hanif Jamal – the owners of Toronto’s The Wholesome Market – just celebrated 20 years of working with Community Builders Youth Leadership. This not-for-profit organization was founded in 1994 by a committed group of educators with extensive experience in teaching, counselling, and working through the arts with children.

Community Builders’ mission and passion is to help create inclusive school communities by developing the leadership capacity of young people and adults. They train elementary students, teachers and parents in anti-bullying, social inclusion, equity and conflict resolution, while raising their awareness of racism, sexism, classism and other forms of oppression.

The Wholesome Market donates $2,000 annually to the group and is planning something big in May: a community event based at the store with the goal of raising awareness of the important issues Community Builders addresses, and $5,000 in donations to support this work. The funds will go toward the recruiting and training of volunteers, as well as additional staff. This will enable the organization to go into more school communities to teach students and raise awareness of the issues.

“What we are doing through the store is trying to get much more involved in the community,” explained Hanif, who recalls being bullied as a youngster when his family was new to Canada. “Community Builders helps kids understand racism, homophobia, classism, ableism and the many other ways that people get hurt. They’re teaching the kids the right words and the most effective approach to dealing with tough situations. This type of community program is something I encourage all business owners to consider supporting.”

Community Builders’ co-founder Jerry Brodey says stepping in to help someone who is being bullied, excluded or targeted by oppression isn't easy for anyone – children or adults. “We’re giving them the skills and tools to be pro-active. Young people believe they can make a difference, and we need to support them to do that. These are skills that will help them to have healthy relationships now when they’re young, and as they go through the rest of their lives. Community Builders is definitely an antidote for hopelessness.”

The Wholesome Market has had support from some of its suppliers, including Mike and Mike’s, Indigo, Purity Life, Sunflower Kitchen, Gordian Health First and Little Stream Bakery. Hanif is hoping more suppliers as well as his customers will join the effort. “This is about helping kids deal with bullying and show caring to others,” says Hanif. “The more people who stand up to bullying and exclusion, the less power it has.”

For more information, visit cbyouthleadership.org or contact Hanif at 647/500-3474 or hanif647@yahoo.ca.

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Good Health Mart marks 25 years July 1

good health martThe Good Health Mart group of stores celebrates its 25th anniversary July 1.   It was 1993 when Eunice and Murray McMahon bought a health food store in Woodbridge, ON. Within two years, they built a second store in Belleville, ON and by the next year, they were franchising their concept.

Through franchising and acquiring existing stores, GHM grew to a 12-store organization.   “Some of our staff and franchisees have been with us for over 20 years,” said Murray. “Many more have been with us for over five years and counting. We give heartfelt thanks to our loyal staff and customers and long-time suppliers who have been on this journey with us.”   CNHR will be featuring Good Health Mart in the next issue.

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Foodsmiths raises $2,255 for legion

foodsmithsFoodsmiths – the “good food store” in Perth, ON. – raised $2,255.75 in November for the Perth Royal Canadian Legion with its third annual Poppy Project.

The Poppy Project, which is based on the sale of hand-knit poppies, was introduced by Foodsmiths co-owner Claire Smith after seeing an appeal for fundraising ideas put out by the Perth Legion. "It was based on the successful British Legion hand-knit poppy project." says Claire. "I asked our cashier and enthusiastic knitter Linda Anderson to tweak the pattern. She did, and our poppy project was born."

Foodsmiths supplies all materials to a core of volunteer knitters, including staff and customers of Foodsmiths. Since starting the project three years ago, Foodsmiths has raised $8,798.45.

One hundred per cent of all proceeds are donated to the Perth Royal Canadian Legion.

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Things You Can Do for Your Store to Thrive

dave fuller articleMany retailers are stressed at the thought of what is happening in the health food industry right now. Amazon buying Whole Foods, the erosion of margins with online shopping, and more and more products showing up in the mass market.

If you want to survive as a health food retailer in the next couple decades, you are going to need to do things differently than you did in the past.

  1. Exclusive products

To survive, health food stores are going to need to have their own brands that are not available everywhere.   To have access to this, health food retailers will need to have a supplier that is giving them brands of products that are not available in the mass market.  While you may feel you need some mass market products, your customers are coming to you because you are the trusted advisor. If you have the knowledge to help them address their problems and concerns, they will buy what you put in their hands.

  1. Niche markets

Health food stores who survive the change in the retail environment will have to have specialty niches where they are able to identify their potential customers and offer them specific products to satisfy their needs.  Perhaps this is an anti-aging clinic, the men’s testosterone stop, or the skin care centre.  This may mean that you will have to do things that you didn’t do in the past: offering services that are difficult to do, or products that are hard to get.  Health food retailing will be getting harder, but the creative will thrive. 

  1. Human contact

Millennials, Generation Xers and upcoming generations are going to want the human aspect of retailing that baby boomers had and then some.  While we all might be on the computer more, we all crave to be touched, spoken with and humoured. Physical touch and real human presence is hard to experience over the computer. Brick and mortar health food stores will be around as long as they can offer this.  Store owners are going to have to encourage their staff to develop meaningful relationships because this is what customers want.

  1. Experiences

   It’s true that 3D is coming to retailing online, but you can’t taste food, feel fabric or smell scents online. Health food retailing is going to need to give customers even more experiences that fill the senses.

  1. Business knowledge

It was once the case that you could open a health food store because you wanted to help people have a chance of success.  The chance of success now has been significantly reduced. In the past, store owners would spend money in advertising without measuring the results and set margins and price products upon a whim. Look at financials once a year and rely on your accountant to interpret them.  Future store owners are going to need to be strategic, cunning and knowledgeable to thrive.  Those that understand how business works and how they can create value for their customers, are going to be successful.

Health food retailing is changing but those who can adapt will be able to feed their families, hire great staff, help their customers and contribute to their communities for years to come. 

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Pleine Lune turns forty

pleine store frontAliments Naturels Pleine Lune sits in a very prominent location in the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.  Perched confidently on the southeast corner of two busy roads, it presents a very impressive visual to passersby and customers alike. 

Pleine Lune (“Full Moon” in English) may not have always had such a high profile physical location, but it has always held an important position in the hearts and minds of its customers since it founding.  Its longevity is proof of that.  In 2018, Pleine Lune celebrates a major milestone: 40 years of serving the people of this city of 100,000, located roughly 40 kilometres to the south of Montreal’s south shore. 

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The high maintenance employee

high maintenance employeeDo you have someone on your team who you think of as “high-maintenance”? What do we mean when we throw around that phrase? The workplace behaviours I’ve heard supervisors describe include:

  • Chronic complaining.

  • Demanding the supervisor’s constant attention

  • Dependency, needing ongoing direction

  • Endless questions, concerns and problems with any work assignment.

Note that all these behaviours are inter-related. And they involve a pattern, not one-time events.

Recently, I came across the concept of the “Adversity Quotient.” Dr. Paul Stoltz defines the Adversity Quotient as “the capacity of the person to deal with the adversities of his/her life.” The high-maintenance employee has a low Adversity Quotient. Instead of meeting challenges with resilience, they blame others and make excuses.

And somehow there are always things going wrong in the lives of high-maintenance people. They are perennially at the centre of some sort of drama.

Up to a point, I’d say that it’s your job as a leader to rise to the challenges that high-maintenance employees bring to the workplace and help them make the most positive contribution possible. Some really high performers can be a challenge to manage or work with together on a team, yet the value they bring to the organization outweighs their less desirable behaviours.

If you find that you are continually avoiding or ignoring someone you consider a high-maintenance employee, it’s time to get analytical. Did they get proper training in the first place? Do they have objectively more on their plate than they used to have? Would they benefit from more structure, more directives from you, rather than a hands-off management style that their co-workers seem to prefer?

And what’s your part in this? Could your own instructions be clearer, or expressed more effectively for this person’s learning style? Could you be more generous with praise and appreciation to help build their confidence? Are you setting and upholding boundaries so that you get uninterrupted time periods to focus on others or your own work?

Or are you allowing the high-maintenance employee to cross those boundaries and take up your time whenever they want, even if you resent it?

After examining your role in the dynamic with the high-maintenance employee and resolving to change some of your own behaviours if needed, you can coach this person on alternative approaches they could take for a more productive work relationship. For example:

  • Set up specific (and limited) times in the day or the week when they can come to you with questions and problems.
  • When they do bring a problem, ask them to always recommend a solution.
  • Ask them if they notice any patterns in the problems they bring to you.
  • Ask if there is any part, even a small part, of a situation they’re willing to take responsibility for.
  • Brainstorm a list of possible actions. Keep asking, “What else can you do?”

Show your appreciation

Let’s say you take all these steps and you notice some improvements – a little more self-sufficiency, fewer complaints, some follow-up on your suggestions. If that happens, be sure to let the person know you’ve noticed and you appreciate their efforts. People do more of what they receive positive reinforcement for doing. They tend to lapse back into old behaviours in the absence of that positive reinforcement.

If there’s no sustained improvement? If the high-maintenance employee is otherwise doing good work, you’ll just have to maintain your boundaries and be sure that they get no more than their fair share of your time and attention. If they are performing poorly, follow your steps for corrective action, just as you would for any other employee.  • 

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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...

Community Board

Watch here for Job Postings, Wanted Ads, For Hire, etc. To add, contact Donna

Check out the Community Board