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Feeling unwell? Let Karen and Larry help you

The Wellness Store is the subject of this week’s SooToday What’s Up Wednesday
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20190909-SooToday What's Up Wednesday The Wellness Store-DT
Victoria Notte, Karen and Larry Hepditch (co-owners of The Wellness Store), Maria Berlingieri and Kathy Bronson, Sept. 9, 2019. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Feel like your body is missing something?

Tired of doctor-ordered blood tests which indicate you’re ‘normal?’

Feeling just plain awful?

Not taking anything away from trained physicians, sometimes natural remedies could very well be your answer.

Karen and Larry Hepditch have operated The Wellness Store since 2004, first located in Station Mall before moving to its current location at 760 Second Line East in 2015, having helped a legion of customers. 

“I started out as a registered nurse and worked in that field for many years, but I also had an interest in natural medicine, as did Larry,” said Karen, a Sault native, speaking to SooToday.

“When we left our old jobs, we decided this was something we wanted to try, so we decided to invest and start up our own place, and here we are.”

“I came from the corporate world. I worked in the food business for many years in southern Ontario,” said Larry, who hails from Kitchener, having lived in the Sault since 1992. 

The couple operated what Larry called “a Husky type store on the highway at Batchawana with groceries, gas, everything, but while we were getting ready to sell that business, we were reading about the growing demand for natural products. We were going to go to southern Ontario and operate this business,” but Larry added, with a smile, the Sault grows on a person.

“There’s a lot of excitement to this business,” Karen said.

“Even though I was a nurse, and have been in this business for several years, I still learn something every day. There’s always something new happening, new products, new things discovered about our bodies and how we can help ourselves naturally...the learning never ends. That’s what keeps us going. There’s never a dull moment.”

The Wellness Store’s shelves are filled from top to bottom with vitamins, minerals and other natural remedies which help people deal with various types of pain and illnesses.

Weight loss products, treatments for digestion problems, immune system products, chemical-free shampoos, conditioners, soaps and deodorants are big favourites for customers at The Wellness Store.

And then, there are lots of products for pets, such as multi vitamins, Karen added.

“We’ve had people who have dogs with joint pain, and the owners have to wait at the top of the stairs for their pets to get up, but after they get on these products, four to six weeks later, the pets are running up the stairs,” said Larry, the couple having taken professional training in the vitamin field along with being very much self taught.

At a loss as to where to start and what to buy when looking for natural remedies for what ails you?

Karen and Larry can help you, but Karen said a multivitamin will do wonders for anyone for a start, along with Omega 3 fish oil.

“I believe you should start taking Omega 3 before you’re born. A pregnant mother should be taking it, and you don’t stop until the day you die. Omega 3 feeds your head, your brain, your eyes, along with your heart, circulation and your skin. If you take nothing else, Omega 3 is so important.”

“A lot of it is what you need as an individual, but a multi-vitamin and Omega 3 are the basics.”

Essiac formula, in tablet or powdered form, is an excellent healer as well, studies having shown it prolongs the lives of people who are very ill, Karen said.

“75 per cent of our customers are seniors,” Larry said, but added natural medicine is for the younger crowd too.

“We sell the protein powders to athletes because they want to be protecting their knee joints if they’re going to be running on the football field,” Karen smiled.

Gaba is an incredible stress reliever for all ages, Larry added.

The couple testified customers have come in delighted to report health issues which have plagued them have been healed after using natural remedies.

“A customer came in three months ago with severe knee pain, we gave him a powder you mix with water, and in six to eight weeks his knees got better,” Larry said.

“We had a lady with severe stomach cramps for eight months. She had every test done by the doctors, and had no relief at all. The lady used one of the remedies we have in stock and said ‘oh my gosh, the pain’s gone.’ It turned out it was a stomach muscle spasm, something which a medical scope couldn’t pick up,” Karen said.

“We had a lady come in to the store, she had eczema. She was wearing long sleeves in the middle of the summer. She showed me her raw and bleeding arms. She spent thousands of dollars on pills and creams. She put on a hazelwood bracelet we have for sale, hazelwood treatments coming traditionally from the Indigenous people in Quebec, and the hazelwood drew extra acidity from her body and neutralized her eczema.” 

“It’s amazing the things that are natural which can do great things,” Karen said.

Karen, however, said despite the wonders of natural medicine, conventional medicine should certainly not be discarded.

“Neither type of medicine can do everything. Sometimes we’ll say to customers ‘you need to see a doctor.’ You can’t become jaded. You need to look objectively at both types of medicine, traditional and natural.”

“This was a new career for me, but I always knew some products really helped, so we expanded on that, beginning with things which have helped me,” Larry said.

“This is my life. I believe in what I do,” Karen said.




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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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