At Natur-Tyme in Syracuse, New York, second-generation owner Wendy Meyerson proudly carries the torch lit by her late father, Stan, a pioneering integrative pharmacist and beloved community figure. Along with its 15,000-square-foot retail floor filled with 10,000-plus grocery items, over 200 supplement brands and oodles of personal care and pet products, Natur-Tyme is a hopping hub of activity, education and outreach—just as Stan would have wanted.
Whether it’s inviting a renowned integrative doctor or health coach to give a talk in the Community Room or playing host to a learning-meets-fun Ladies’ Night after hours, Meyerson is constantly finding ways to engage with her neighbors and enrich their lives. “We have a lot of space that’s immensely valuable but doesn’t technically generate sales,” Meyerson says. “But that’s how we really connect with customers, whether it’s through education or fun activities. I feel this is our responsibility and obligation to the community—it’s the foundation of our family business.”
Three ways Natur-Tyme puts people over profits:
Community spaces. Natur-Tyme holds four to six free educational events each month in its large Community Room. Meyerson also lets local groups use this space gratis. “We open this space to the public, and no money typically exchanges hands,” she says. “It’s just a safe place for people to meet.” Meyerson also just converted former retail space in the front of the store to the new Community Corner, where a rotating cast of artists and artisans display their works and the store holds cooking demos and other events.
Enhanced Beauty Salon. A few years ago, Natur-Tyme added a natural salon where shoppers can get affordable haircuts, colors, facials and massages. The pro stylists, aestheticians and therapists use only nontoxic, eco-friendly products, many of which are sold in-store. “This is another way we can be part of our customers’ lives,” Meyerson says. “We respect our customers’ dollars and never want the Enhanced Beauty Salon to be exclusive, hoity-toity or expensive.”
Spring into Health. Natur-Tyme’s giant annual health fair turned 15 this year. Held at the New York State Fair grounds, Spring into Health attracts 1,500 attendees and 80 vendors each year. The one-day event is packed with seminars, demos, cooking classes and, of course, samples. “It’s not about making money