For a dozen years, Linda Gigliotti would walk by 120 11th Ave. N. daily as she took a deposit to the Creston and District Credit Union. And each time, she thought it would be the perfect location for a health food store.
So it seems fitting that Gigliotti moved her business, Gold Herb Health Foods, there from Erickson in September 2010, expanding from 860 square feet to 2,700.
The tripled space allowed her to evolve beyond being simply a store, becoming a place where customers can feel at ease.
“We’re trying to make a nice haven for people to come in, rest, take five,” she said. “It’s not just about retail. It’s about helping people learn.”
Gigliotti understands the desire to learn, having left the nursing profession because she wanted more.
“I realized it didn’t touch base with nutrition,” she said.
She began studying different holistic areas, such as massage and sports nutrition, then put her knowledge to use while working at a health food store before she bought Golden Herb in 2007.
“I wanted to make another option for people in town,” said Gigliotti, who moved to Creston in 1993. “We need it because the industry is growing.”
As a registered holistic nutritionist, Gigliotti also felt that she could help more people if she owned a store, which she does in many ways, not the least of which is offering the best products she can find.
“I do my research,” she said. “You know you are getting clean products.”
By that, she means those from reputable companies with a long history of quality, as well as those that show where their raw materials come from. Many are organic and are guaranteed to contain no genetically modified products, and that extends beyond food to include cosmetics and household supplies.
With the expanded floor space, Gigliotti has been able to expand her inventory, adding additional gluten-free foods, as well as supplements specifically for diabetics, with a wider range of food soon to come. Her bulk section, which was always popular with customers, has become an even bigger success with the move into town.
A self-professed “health guru” in high school, Gigliotti would eat tofu and other things her friends considered weird. Her profession as a nurse grew out of a desire to help others.
“I knew I wanted to help,” she said. “At one point, I was actually a veterinary assistant because I liked to help animals.”
Gigliotti is pleased to see that many people today are interested in improving their health by changing their eating habits just as she did as a teen.
“There are enough people interested in the knowledge of taking care of themselves — it’s back to what it used to be,” she said.
And while she has a lot of knowledge about nutrition and health, Gigliotti never tells customers that her way is the only way.
“People can’t be afraid to see their doctor,” she said. “I don’t ever come down on doctors. They have their place with medicines and surgery, but they don’t have time to teach.
“All health areas should work together.”