OVER 35 YEARS OF QUALITY HERBAL THERAPEUTICS

Interview: Jane Bowers, Herbalist

Owner/Operator, Healthy Balance, a natural products retail store in Lebanon, NJ

How long have you had your store?

This is my second store. I had a store called the Good Food Grocer from 1980—1990 in Clinton, NJ, but sold it after my daughter graduated from school so I could try other things. I traveled and wandered around a bit but didn’t find anything I liked better. This is my niche. So, in 1994 I started working with a man who had opened a store about five miles from my old store. I bought the store from him in 2007, and December of this past year we moved to a new location. It’s a little bigger and a nice new space. We’re really happy here.

How did you come to take David’s two year program?

When I had my first store one of my employees was going through the program and that got me interested. When I came back into the industry in 1995, the store owner I worked with was in David’s program, and that got me interested in again. What really enticed me most was that I love plant identification. I love taking walks and looking at plants and going to new areas and seeing plants I don’t recognize and asking people about them.

I learned a lot on my own, but it was really good to be in a program where I had to do so much every week. I graduated in 1998.

Was it difficult to be in the program while running your store?

It wasn’t too much, but at the time my father had cancer so I was also his caretaker part of the time as well, and that became too much.

How do you use what you learned in David’s program as a retailer?

I use it daily. I actually worked with a woman before I bought this store who was a recent graduate of David’s program and she had all this knowledge but wasn’t able to take the questions people had and convert it to information for them. It was really fun for me to talk with her after a customer would leave and she would have bits of information I didn’t have, and that renewed my interest in David’s program.

Basically I use my training from David as a basis to formulate questions to direct people better. The fact that he drills into you to that it’s not arthritis, arthritis is not one thing. It’s your body, your terrain in your body, and arthritis can take so many forms. People’s eyes get wider when they come in here. They come in here for the information and the education. I can’t do consultations because I’m running the store, but I feel good because I get them pointed in the right directions and they always get good information. I try to make them understand that their body is a petrie dish. Whatever you put into it is going to affect the acid alkaline balance and how things grow in it.

 

I try to drill into them that these are not pharmaceuticals it’s not like one pill does all. You have to allow the body those 6 to 8 weeks to make changes and sometimes the changes are slower if it’s been a long constitutional issue that they have.

It’s a lot of education, which I thank David for because he helps to organize the material really well.

Do you think that because you have all that information it gives you an advantage in your business?

Absolutely. We have people who come in here all the time who say “you people really know what you are talking about.”

I don’t so much I teach my staff everything, I show them where to find the information and how to apply it. Most of my staff has been with me over 10 years. They love it too and they can see results for people. It’s really difficult to read someone in 5 to 10 minutes and I am always telling people you shouldn’t just walk into my store or any other store if you have a major issue. I’ll have people come in and say “I don’t really have anything wrong” and then they say they are diabetic and have gout. I’ll say “wait a minute. You have multi system problems and let’s start with a generalization.” I have a local practitioner, Kerry Adams who I refer people to, especially for thyroid issues, or issues where I feel someone should be looking at their blood work and really following up. And sometimes I can get people started and a little more comfortable in the direction they want to go.

I try to work with a person’s belief system too. Sometimes people come in and tell me about their issues and I’ll make some suggestions for things they can do or things they can change slightly and they have excuses why they can’t do them. I’ll say “well, I guess what you are doing is what got you here and it sounds like you want to stay there so I don’t think I can be of any help. It was nice talking to you.” And I’ll walk away. They usually always come back. It teaches me not to waste my time with people who aren’t ready to change. Sometimes people are ready for only so much information at a time. We have wonderful customers, we have happy customers.

When I have more time I would take David’s class over again or take his graduate level class. I also want to get more training in homeopathy.