The Times West Virginian

Business

July 13, 2014

All Things Herbal health and wellness shop

FAIRMONT — All Things Herbal Local Market is a one-stop, health and wellness shop.

Owner Christa Blais officially opened her new business in downtown Fairmont at 327 Adams St., across from Veterans’ Square, on June 6 during Main Street Fairmont’s First Friday event.

She said the opening day had a great turnout, and her store has continued to receive positive community support and already has regular customers.

“The people have been great — makes me Fairmont proud,” Blais said. “I’m grateful that they come to my little shop.”

When customers walk through the door of the shop, they will first see a variety of items by local artists on display, like handmade pottery, jewelry, candles, tie-dye items, clothing and more. All-natural soaps and lotions are for sale, too.

Blais said she wants to help these people with diverse talents launch and grow their own businesses.

As visitors move through the store, they will find all local food, made available through partnerships with area farmers, and organic food that hasn’t been chemically altered. The shop has goats’ milk, farm-fresh produce and eggs — even turkey and quail eggs — and a variety of meats, including antelope, elk, bison, wild boar, venison and grass-fed beef.

About 75 percent of Blais’ customers are gluten-intolerant, so she carries a lot of gluten-free products.

People can also buy jam, honey, maple syrup, bag soup mixes, salt-rising bread, and medicinal and culinary herbs from the shop. A line of homemade dog treats is featured as well.

Besides the nutritional benefits that locally produced foods provide, these items offer so much flavor and taste. Also, keeping those dollars local helps the local economy, Blais said.

She said the store is not trying to take the place of the Fairmont Farmers Market, which runs on Tuesday and Saturday, but is giving farmers the chance to get their products into the hands of more people over the entire week.

Blais wants everyone, not just the privileged, to have access to healthy food. The business accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits and senior food vouchers, as well as debit and credit card payments, check and cash.

In addition, All Things Herbal Local Market has a special room where classes are held regularly.

Yoga is offered three times a week, with classes taught by Lauren Brennan at noon Monday and 3 p.m. Tuesday and by Tonya Madia at 10 a.m. Saturday. Nutritional and educational classes also take place once a week, usually at 2 p.m. Saturday, on a variety of different topics that are of interest to people.

The business will eventually add a massage therapist, who will provide services in a separate space at the back of the store.

Blais explained that for her own personal health reasons, she decided to try to eat healthier and recognized the importance of proper nutrition as she began to feel better and have more energy.

“It’s really helped me — learning about raw foods and healthier foods,” she said.

However, she found that she couldn’t get the food items that she needed in the area.

Blais has wanted to open a shop like All Things Herbal Local Market for about 10 years. Then, during February and March, she attended Main Street Fairmont’s Small Business Boot Camp.

This seven-week training, held at Pierpont Community & Technical College’s space at Veterans’ Square in downtown Fairmont, gave attendees the educational foundation and real-world experience needed to start a business.

Blais said the boot camp gave her the confidence to get All Things Herbal Local Market up and running.

She felt like the timing was perfect for her business’ opening because of the many different nutrition and food initiatives going on in the area and across the state. She said she had always thought that Fairmont would be a good place to start a business, and she knew it was the right location when she saw the positive climate and mood change downtown.

Blais wants to be a part of creating an art and cultural movement in downtown Fairmont.

Originally from Daytona Beach, Florida, Blais moved to Fairmont five years ago. She said the Friendly City definitely feels like home to her. In addition to running her own business, she also has a full-time job with West Virginia Bankers Title in Pleasant Valley.

Blais has a garden in her backyard, is part of the Marion County Master Gardeners, and also runs the Fairmont Organic Community Garden, which helps teach kids where their food comes from and how to eat right.

The store is open 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 681-758-4187, go online to http://info79746.wix.com/allthingsherbal, or visit the Facebook page of All Things Herbal Local Market.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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