1. Let customers be your guide
Shoppers’ questions play an important role in developing educational programming. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Nabors recalls trying to convince a customer that his organic lettuce from California was not saturated with radiation. “Nothing I could say would convince her otherwise,” he says. “I had to wonder how many other shoppers were thinking this same thing and decided it might be time for an educational update on radiation.”
2. Offer what the next guy has—and more
Twenty years ago, it was enough to be the only store carrying natural and organic products, but now many supermarkets have these offerings. To stay competitive, Mustard Seed also identifies Non-GMO products on store shelves. Shoppers unfamiliar with genetic modification can attend free educational sessions or read shelf-talkers that detail the pitfalls of GM ingredients.
3. Promote health
While Mustard Seed carries high-end chocolates, cheeses and meats for special occasions, Nabors makes it a point to direct customers to nutrient-dense, low-fat foods year round. “It’s our job to take shoppers from wherever they are, educate them and give them opportunities to take steps toward embracing healthier lives,” he says.