How did you get started in the health food retailing business? What was your background before that?
I graduated from Chestnut Hill Hospital School
of Radiology and became a registered Radiologic
Technologist. Later I specialized in mammography and became
a registered mammographer. I also graduated from Hahneman
University with a science degree. In my late teens and early
20s, I experienced a lot of digestive issues. I read the
book Diet for a Small Planet and instantly became hooked,
changing and cleaning up my diet to be more vegetarian and
became aware of what was happening to our foods. I had the
great opportunity to stay at home and raise my four
children. As different health situations arose, I always
tried a more natural approach including diet.
With our children all in school, I was working
part time for Lehigh Valley Hospital. While working at the
hospital, I saw the direction of the medical field and
decided it wasn't for me. In 1996, when The Nature Den, a
small, sparcely filled health food store, went up for sale
in our town, my husband encouraged me to buy it. Never
having had the desire or business background to go into
retail, he helped me realize I could turn this around and
really have the freedom to help people the way I wanted to.
Three years later, we bought a building and moved the store
increasing it to approx. 2,000 sq. ft.
We are a pretty complete health food store
offering everything from essential oils, health and beauty
aides, books, food, supplements, herbs, etc. so that we can
remain a teaching store. I find that most people are
intimidated to shop in a health food store, so we literally
lead them around and explain all that seems so overwhelming.
Lifestyle and diet changes are what we aim for, but is not
always what the customers are interested in. I will spend
whatever time is needed with a customer, any time of the
day, to help give free counseling, guidance, literature and
whatever is needed to help teach that the power is and
always has been in their hands to get what they need to be
healthy and make the right educated choices. I hope, in the
next several years, to be able to add on an office for