How’s Biz: Health Works forges own way through wild times

Owner, Daniel Wright, reviewing products and resources with store assistant, Curtis Dilldine, at Wright's store, Health Works.
Amber Delay / Craig Press

For Daniel Wright, like many in Craig, the last few years have been hard to pin down.

“Mercurial. That’s the best way to describe how business has been.” said Wright, owner of Health Works Natural Health Food Store.

Health Works, known to many in the community as simply, “Daniel’s,” was opened by Wright and his sister in 2004. For 18 years, the store has been serving the community with vitamins, supplements, natural health and wellness products, and natural food and grocery items.

Wright said the nutritional health and supplement industry was declared essential during pandemic closures, so the store was able to remain open.

But, with periodic unavailability of products, unpredictable demand and items being sold out or discontinued by manufacturers, Wright has had trouble keeping shelves fully stocked.

Additionally, he said, when information comes out online or spreads on Facebook about the health benefit of a certain product, it flies off the shelves and is then difficult to restock.

“Things that used to take five days to deliver now take two weeks,” Wright said.

Products are also more expensive now, Wright said. He’s seeing pricing increases show up all over the place.

This doesn’t mean that business is bad, just that it has been changing.

“The good part about this change is that there are more and more people who are waking up to the fact that if you don’t take a more active role in your health, someone else will make decisions for you, and it may not be in your best interest.” Wright said.

This awakening to responsibility for one’s own health has created a significant number of customers who have not previously considered the products Wright sells.

“Newbies are coming in, who have never sought out this kind of thing before. We are seeing people wanting more information about their health and alternative remedies,” Wright said.

Rows of vitamins and supplements line the shelves at Health Works in Craig.
Amber Delay / Craig Press

This is the type of revelation with which he is familiar.

Wright grew up in a small town in Wyoming without much exposure to natural health foods or holistic wellness. There is security and comfort in a small town, he said — it is nice to see familiar faces everywhere. However, that same familiarity can inhibit someone from breaking out of the box. When everyone has known you forever, it can feel like you’ll always be the person you’ve been from the beginning.

Fast forward to a different chapter in Wright’s life, this one set in Santa Cruz, Calif., where he assisted with midwifery in his living community. His duties consisted of operations like boiling water, sterilizing equipment and bringing the midwives towels and other supplies.

Being involved in this process, he became extremely interested in the herbs the midwives were using. It was around this time he had an awakening about his own health.

“Too much sugar, too much booze, and I realized I had to change all that and do something for my health.” Wright said.

Wright is now following a more informal path of getting information and looking things up. He keeps a large reference book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, handy near his desk.

“I got started by looking up my own symptoms and using that information to make well-informed choices, and then started helping others who are wanting to get more information about their own symptoms and find what works best for them,” Wright said.

He makes clear that despite the book title, it is a only reference for gathering information, and he doesn’t do any kind of prescribing or diagnosing.

“The desire in this community is what has kept this thing going in the community,” Wright said. “Gratitude extended to everyone who is taking the path of being well informed and making their own choices around their health.”

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