Country Health offically reopens its doors tomorrow from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and under new ownership, the business re-imaged with a serious face-lift and ambitious yet down-to-earth approach.
Michelle Bynum, 29, is the new owner but chalks up her accomplishment to her family and community — from her parents to the previous store’s manager Mary Lakin “being part of the deal,” Bynum said half joking. People have also been stopping by to support the revamped downtown location.
“I don’t want a health store; I want a health haven, where you can chat, relax as well as get what you need,” Bynum said smiling. “And I wanted to do something so that we still have a health store.”
The ribbon-cutting opening will unveil a pristine, spacious shop with fresh vinyl wood floors and a soothing paint scheme. The first 50 visitors receive a complimentary gift, and in addition to snack samples, there’s going to be free cups of Laird Superfood Coffee.
Most of the items in the shop will be 20 percent off and a free raffle ticket for numerous prizes will accompany any purchase. Free tickets will also be given with any Toys for Tots or CAPS (Churchill Animal Protection Society) donations.
Face painting by Ivy the Artist will be from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and the police station is supplying child ID kits so families are prepared in case of emergency. KVLV/KTUU radio will also be on site.
Guests are invited to ask questions about ear candles or peruse the pet section, learn from resource material or pick up their supply of multivitamins and gluten-free products. The shop also offers DoTerra oils, gift certificates and handmade items including dog beds and Baltic Amber accessories.
“It was a ‘aha’ moment,” Bynum said of the opportunity to run Country Health. “Everything slotted into place. Everything. I know I’m lucky.”
She was working hard and going to school when health issues surfaced, and she had to have her gallbladder removed. Responding to food limitations, she had to adjust the dream of applying her knowledge from the Art Institute of Seattle’s Culinary Arts/Baking program.
“I’m someone that if I’m scared, I face it head on,” Bynum said of the chance to apply her growing health wisdom and empathy for others as an entrepreneur, including her ability to tweak recipes and cook for any diet.
She embraced each step as it came along despite being petrified.
“I tell people to find their happiness, I better walk what I preach,” she said.
Lakin, who has worked for the business for over 15 years, said the shop has always been like a family, adding that small businesses like Fallon’s Country Health are the backbone of America.
“I knew Michelle as a customer, and we always got along well, and I thought she was a sweetheart,” Lakin said, mentioning her personality is similar to former owner Angel Marcellus, who retired a year ago this month.
Lakin said she thought the transition between the two owners was a perfect idea.
“I think the world of Michelle,” Marcellus said. “She’s just a very bright young lady who has a heart for this business, which is very important to love what you’re doing and want to serve the people here.”
Bynum’s father, Greg, a retired federal firefighter, spent three days helping pull up the space’s stubborn carpet that was thickly glued to the surface beneath.
“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “I thought it was a good move, a good decision. She’s building a future, a life.”
His daughter chimed in:
“And my own retirement?” she said to him with a smile.
Her mother, Augustine, encouraged Bynum from the beginning.
“I said, it’s right up your alley,” she recalled. “I knew she’d do well at it.”
Both parents agreed that Bynum living a health-conscious life helped make the choice a simple one though the process afterward is long.
“I’ve been badgered like this to eat healthy,” Augustine said, laughing. “I do believe in it, and I do believe in her, and the shop. It’s really nice to have a place to come to that’s comfy and warm. And meeting people, that has been great.”
Bynum added that she might have been born in the wrong era, since she feels meant for a mom-and-pop shop just like Country Health.