Natural Foods Merchandiser
Abby's health food store

Education comes first at Abbys Health and Nutrition

Retailer of the Year: Community engagement finalist

Tampa, Florida-based Abby’s Health and Nutrition celebrates its 20th anniversary in January 2017. As it reaches this milestone, founder Abby Sayler and her partner (and general manager) Victor Karydis remain committed to the mission that started it all: “better health through education.”

The store is a health and nutrition destination, complete with vitamins and supplements, health and beauty products, a stocked grocery, organic produce and Cafe Eden, which offers a selection of raw and prepared foods from an organic salad bar to kombucha on tap, acai bowls, smoothies and juices, and delicious eats for all. In 2015, Abby’s Health and Nutrition was awarded a Sustainable Business Award from the University of Tampa in recognition of its significant contributions to the community in terms of people, profit and planet. Here are just three reasons why:

Raving customer service. That was the store’s mantra for 2016, and it delivers in a few ways. First, store leadership is committed to listening to its customers and implementing change to improve their shopping experience (for example, Abby’s recently started offering a golf cart shuttle on busy days when customers reported having to park far away). And because Sayler and Karydis have a passion for health, they hire staff with the “same DNA,” Karydis says. As a result, the top reason shoppers return again and again is the “courteous, knowledgeable staff that are genuinely interested in their health,” he adds.

Abby’s magazine. Offered free to the public and stocked with articles and tips for living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, Abby’s Magazine was launched in 2012. Today, the bimonthly publication reaches 5,000 readers.

Abby’s Organic Community Farm. In 2014, Abby’s purchased land in order to educate the public about the health benefits of growing their own organic food. “The farm is a nonprofit organization where people attend workshops to learn about soil, irrigation, composting, fertilizing and pesticides,” says Karydis, “all from a healthy organic perspective.” Current projects include a greenhouse, hydroponics, raised bed gardens, fruit and medicinal trees and a chicken coop, with more to come.

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