My name is John Rigdon and my first day at Nature’s Outlet was nearly six years ago. It was intimidating and somewhat terrifying. All of those vitamins, all of those herbs, what were they and what did they do? I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself. I didn’t want to make a bad recommendation to a customer and cause them any harm! I look back on that time as I’m writing this and it seems so long ago. I am now the staff educator for our four store chain. I work closely with doctors, nutritionists, and educators within the health food industry and pass what I learn onto my coworkers and customers. I somehow managed to learn what all (OK perhaps just most) those supplements and herbs were and what they did.
I grew up working for my dad and I got to see the inner workings of a family-owned business. It was a pleasure working within a family structure (even if it was my own). When it came time to move on, I knew I wanted to work for a local and family owned company. And so I got hired at Nature’s Outlet with very little knowledge of supplements and nutrition but with the promise that I would be taught. Our first store opened nearly 40 years ago in 1977. While many employees have come and gone over the years, especially since we often employ young, enthusiastic high school and college kids, everyone takes away invaluable lessons regarding their health.
Going back to my first few months on the job, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed when I would hear customers and coworkers discussing specific supplements and health issues. I figured out that in order to survive and maintain my sanity, I needed to calmly take the learning process one day at a time. I would pick a different product each day and research it when the store was slow. After about six months, I was at least vaguely familiar with the store’s inventory, but this wasn’t my only tool. Customers who had been shopping with us for years were extremely helpful and more importantly patient with me. Their shared experiences and positive feedback on products gave me confidence to recommend that product to someone else with the same health issue. I’ve also had to privilege to meet and learn from some of the top minds in the field of natural medicine. Some of the country’s top Naturopathic Doctors, dieticians, and researchers have done intensive training with myself and the rest of our staff as well as consumer seminars oen to the public and free of charge.
We value education at Nature’s Outlet because it’s the only effective means to achieving good health. The drug trough system has failed. A one size fits all approach to medicine has resulted in more harm than good. There is a new paradigm for healthcare in this country in which patients must be informed and advocate their own well-being. My job, goal, and passion is to help others achieve that wellness while navigating the confusing world of supplements so that they’re not as bewildered as I was all those six years ago.
John A. Rigdon