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Giving Customers What They Need

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— 2 weeks ago

Giving Customers What They Need

By Violet Snow
  • Nature’s Garden, Naples, Florida
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When a health food store makes its customers happy, those customers become the store’s best advertising campaign.

“I never spend one penny for advertising,” says Tony Kapnisis, owner of Nature’s Garden in Naples, Florida. “I give people what they need, and they tell their friends. That’s how you build a business.” 

For example, when customers come in and Kapnisis finds out what conditions they are trying to treat, he’s been known to take expensive items out of their hands if he feels that person hasn’t selected the proper remedies.

“And if I don’t know what they need,” he adds, “I don’t pretend. I say I don’t know, or I offer to look it up. They appreciate that.” But after almost two decades in the business, he’s thoroughly knowledgeable about the supplements and foods he sells.

Kapnisis arrived in the US from Greece when he was 16. Two years later, he opened his own restaurant. After marrying, he and his wife opened and sold 14 different restaurants around the country, then settled in Florida and turned to real estate.

When his daughter was working at a vitamin store and had a scholarship to go to Spain, she didn’t want to lose her job. His wife pitched in to work for her and liked the business so much, she suggested buying a shop. 

In 2001, they purchased a bankrupt health food store and built it back up to the thriving business it is today. The 3600-square-foot building carries more than 30,000 items, including supplements, groceries and health-related equipment, such as alkaline water machines and air cleaners to reduce mold.

“No one has as much selection as we do,” says Kapnisis. “We go the extra mile to find the products. My wife and daughter do a lot of research. After a salesman comes in, they research new products before we buy them.” 

Kapnisis believes 90% of people’s health problems come from poor diet and lack of exercise. His own exercise regimen includes a martial arts practice of taekwondo, which he studied for 40 years, reaching the rank of sixth-degree black belt.

Nowadays, he doesn’t train but still stretches and throws punches and kicks. “You don’t have to go crazy with exercise,” he observes. “It’s good even if you just walk.” 

Kapnisis advises people to stay away from sugar and eat a diet that’s 30% protein and 70% vegetables and nuts, as well as 100% organic. However, he finds few people are willing to make radical changes.

“They’d rather take cholesterol medication and continue eating a bad diet, even people with diabetes, which can be changed through diet and walking every day,” Kapnisis notes. “People say they stay away from sugar, and then it turns out they eat dried processed cereal. And apple juice is just a form of sugar. Supplements can help, but if you don’t change your diet, your health is not going to change.”

Kapnisis is a big fan of supplements because he’s seen them work when accompanied by lifestyle changes.

He’s careful to point out that “I don’t claim to be a doctor or tell people to do anything against what the doctor says. But with diabetes and high blood pressure, I’ve seen a big difference. Now I have several doctors sending people here.”

Among the many brands the shop carries, Kapnisis is especially enthusiastic about NaturesPlus.

“They’re always innovating, coming up with new and exciting things,” he says. “And they stick with the health food stores. We build up these companies by selling their products, and then they sell out to conglomerates. But NaturesPlus never sold out.”

 

2089 Tamiami Trail N

Naples FL 34102

naturesgardenofnaples.com

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