Like many natural products retailers, a desire to promote a healthy lifestyle inspired husband-and-wife team Mike Greenblatt and Becky Tarditi to open a natural products store. But unlike most retailers, their store, Pangaea Naturals in Manahawkin, N.J., has become a hub for information and products relating to cleanses—something they are proud of as their customers return again and again, many of them healthier than before.
At first, cleansing was merely a personal interest, Greenblatt says. He and his wife routinely participate in several cleanses a year and imbibe a daily detox drink. “Both my wife and I date back to the 1960s’ hippie revolution,” Greenblatt says. “We started paying attention to what we were eating and how we were living our lives in those days. That inspired us to do something to serve the community. Now, being a grandfather of five has made our charter for health even more important.”
Success outside the store
Greenblatt’s grandchildren may not yet appreciate Pangaea Naturals’ expertise on cleanses (they are 2, 4, 5, 8 and 14 years old), but the rest of the community in this resort area near Long Beach Island does. Greenblatt often recommends specific cleanses to many of the store’s 1,500 or so frequent shoppers, not to mention his own employees.
“One of our staff joined us two years ago and had a severe case of acne. Doctors were treating her with terrible drugs because they didn’t have a clue of how to deal with acne,” Greenblatt says. “I suggested she try a regimen of 2 ounces of açaí three times a day. Within several months her acne started to diminish significantly, and within a year it was down to just a few new breakouts.”
Small victories like these are how Greenblatt measures the success of his store’s health charter. As the only natural products store within 40 miles, he’s hoping more of the community takes notice and comes to him and his staff for cleansing questions.
Reaching out as a resource
Pangaea Naturals’ success as a cleanse resource is a combination of the owners’ personal experiences, a well-educated staff and the use of books and the Internet to inform wary customers. The result, Greenblatt says, is a store that’s “a friend, a partner. We are there for them.”
To support its cleansing mission, Pangaea has a robust section of books on cleanses, a permanent packaged cleanse display in the supplements aisle and a “What’s Hot” board with seasonal information on cleanses next to a DVD player looping through presentations on the topic. And if those aren’t enough resources for the customer, Greenblatt says he can offer plenty of anecdotal evidence.
“I’ve been working with a lot of people over the years, so I know what’s worked for them and what hasn’t,” he says. “I don’t make any claims or recommendations. I just say this has worked for other people.”
Cleansing your store
Not making claims, Greenblatt says, is the most important thing a retailer can do when setting up a cleanse program. Not every cleanse works for everyone, he says, plus retailers are not qualified to make claims.
“We have to be careful that we aren’t personally recommending. We’re suggesting or talking about our own experiences. We aren’t doctors,” Greenblatt says. He urges retailers to let their customers know about all the effects of a cleanse, including side effects like headaches or red eyes. Proper information is crucial to completing a successful cleanse, he says.
Greenblatt also suggests starting out slow. Concentrating on food-based cleansing by setting up a proper diet should get most people to a healthy baseline. In any retail environment there is a cross section of people, Greenblatt says, so being able to help everyone from hard-core vegans to those with McDonald’s habits will give retailers the experience to try more advanced cleanses with their customers.