Downtown DeRidder is beginning to blossom with little gems around each corner. I recently visited the historical square to photograph a local shop and shortly after was given the opportunity to visit another! Get Healthy is located on the main road that cuts through downtown DeRidder. It is a health food shop, coffee shop, and wellness center packed into one! The coffee shop, Java Joe’s has become a new favorite for us. Drew and I head there when the twins are in their Mother’s Day Out class to get school work done in a new environment. The atmosphere is quiet and cozy and we enjoy our tasty treats from the counter.
Terri Stovall is the owner of these wonderful businesses and I’ll let her fill you in on all the details
Tell me about how Get Healthy came to be.
My parents and my husband’s parents all passed away within a 5 year period. Our fathers were only 59, and our mothers were 62. My husband was in Iraq when our mothers passed away, and I was at home with a lot of time on my hands and started contemplating how to reverse our genetic disposition toward cancer and heart disease so that I could help our children and grandchildren to live longer, healthier lives. I ended up going back to school and obtained my Doctorate in Naturopathy about the same time my youngest daughter, Candi Johnson, graduated from college.
We had planned to build Get Healthy near our home on the route to Fort Polk, but I really wanted it to be a family business and was afraid that Candi would go to work for the state and I would not have the opportunity to work closely with her, so we decided to open in DeRidder, since there was no health food store there. Six weeks later we were open in Country Square shopping center. Business was great for us from day one, and 2 1/2 years later we purchased a building in the historic district of downtown DeRidder, then a year later, we purchased the second building to expand into the wellness center, and our business has doubled.
Your shop is actually split into three separate business that compliment each other, tell us what services you offer.
Our main business is Get Healthy, and Java Joe’s and The Wellness Center and Spa operate under that umbrella.
Get Healthy offers natural groceries, frozen foods, an organic produce box program, works with a local CSA, grass fed beef and specialty groceries such as Gluten Free, Dairy Free and whole grains. We also offer bulk foods, loose herbs, medicinal teas, and dietary supplements. We try to keep up with the latest research on vitamins, minerals and herbs. We offer smoothies and protein drinks, made to order, as well as Italian Sodas and specialty teas.
Java Joe’s offers fresh brewed coffee and espresso drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos and frappes. We use locally roasted Community espresso beans that are ground fresh daily. We also offer Java Joe’s own gourmet and organic coffee beans, and coffee flavorings. Popular flavors include Chocolate Raspberry, Crème Beignet, Southern Pecan, Organic Java Estate and King Cake.
The Wellness Center & Spa offers Massage Therapy, Facials, Oxygen Therapy and Naturopathic Services, as well as a host of equipment that can be used by the session or included in our membership programs. Some of the more popular services are the red light collagen bed, far-infrared sauna, ionic foot detox, hydromassage bed, vibrational platform and teeth whitening. We offer therapeutic services for anti-aging, migraine headaches, stress and pain management. We offer aromatherapy, Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, home teeth-whitening services as well as body wraps and scrubs. Seasonal packages and “girls day out” packages available as well as couples massage.
What has been the most difficult part of running/creating your business?
There have not really been any difficult parts in running the business or creating it, as it all comes from the heart. I guess the most difficult part would be seeing the customers who come in as a last resort, who have lost hope in the the allopathic medical field, or who have been told there is no hope for them. They are scared and hurt and feel they have nowhere left to turn. It breaks my heart and we do what we can to help, sometimes their life expectancy is increased, sometimes just their quality of life. For me, personally, I don’t get to spend as much time with the customers as I used to, the business end of the business is very time consuming, and I miss the day-to-day interactions.
How many people work with you and what are their responsibilities?
There are currently 13 people working in the three businesses that we encompass. (Java Joe’s Coffee House, The Wellness Center & Spa at Get Healthy, and Get Healthy). Duties vary, but we try to have someone educated in supplements and a trained barista on staff at all times. We offer continuing education programs and have monthly contests, meetings and incentives for each of the employees and the products that we offer. We have 3 baristas who trained in New Orleans, 8 employees have completed training with various supplement brands, two are trained in Jane Iredale Skin Care Makeup, we have one licensed Cosmetologist and two licensed Massage Therapists and one Board Certified Naturopath. Two employees are either Active Duty military or family members, and we have one IT person and one maintenance person. Most are educated in several areas.
What has been the most surprising thing since starting your business?
The most surprising thing has been how the community accepted us with open arms, to know that we filled a need. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t thank us for being here. It is also surprising to see how many people have dietary restrictions, whether it is food allergies or intolerances or Celiac, or Diabetes. My granddaughter has serious food allergies to peanuts and sesame and it is very difficult to find food at the regular grocery stores that is not processed in the same facility as peanuts or even on the same equipment as peanuts. The sensitivities can vary from life threatening to digestive discomfort and skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. It encompasses a much larger segment of the community than most people realize.
Get Healthy offers a variety of organic products, some that are difficult to find. What are some special items that patrons may be surprised you carry?
People are usually pleasantly surprised at the extent of our Gluten Free/Nut Free/Dairy Free sections. We have been told that our selection is the largest within a 2 hour drive. We have regular customers from Many, Oakdale, Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, Dequincy and even Jasper, TX. The largest segment of our customers come from Fort Polk and they are happy to find a place that is happy to order their favorite foods from home.
You mentioned going back to school. Tell me about the degrees you went back to pursue.
My doctorate is in Naturopathy, and I am considered a Traditional Naturopath. I am board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and hold certifications in Ayurveda, Iridology, Clinical Aromatherapy, Face/Nail/Tongue Analysis, and Wholistic Health Assessment, and I am a Certified Natural Health Professional (CNHP).
Tell me more about what the spa and wellness center offers?
Our massage therapists offer deep tissue, medical massage, relaxation and Swedish massage as well as hot stone, aromatherapy massage and healing energy work such as Polarity Therapy and Reiki.
Our Cosmetologist uses Derma-E’s award winning natural skin care products based on each client’s skin care needs. She utilizes steam as well as hot and cold stones in her treatments. Visible results are often seen after just one session.
In my office, Naturopathic services include Iridology, Face/tongue/nail analysis, Five element healing, Clinical Aromatherapy, dry blood cell analysis, saliva and blood spot testing as well as kinesiology and traditional labwork. I am a regional board member of the Louisiana Health Freedom Coalition and help to protect our rights to natural health products in the state.
If you weren’t running your own business, what might we find you doing?
If I was not running my own business I would hope to be homeschooling my grandchildren and traveling to see the world.
What else would you like to share with our readers?
We are so proud to be here and to be a part of this community and are more than willing to educate ourselves in any natural health related topic that they may feel they need help understanding. We are happy to order anything that anyone would like to have available and it can always be here in a few days. We pride ourselves in our knowledge of natural health related topics and in our continuing education program. We are here to help and we love what we are doing.
Terri, thank you so much for giving me an inside peek and for allowing me to share it with everyone else. I am so glad not only to have your business here in town, but also to know more about the reasons it’s been created. For those of you that would like to pay them a visit, they are open Monday through Friday from 7am – 5:30pm and Saturday from 10am – 3pm and are located at 107 S. Washington Street in downtown DeRidder. If you see me there with Drew doing school work, be sure to say hi!