Health Works manager brings listening ear to customers |

Health Works manager brings listening ear to customers

Daniel Wright has managed Craig health food store since 2004

Michael Neary
Daniel Wright, manager of Health Works in Craig, prices products at the store.
Michael Neary

— Marek Skupienski comes to Health Works, in Craig, for a number of reasons. But as he thought about what brings him to the store the most, he gestured to manager Daniel Wright.

“His expertise,” said Sku-pienski, a retired coal miner who lives in Craig. “I value his opinion, because there’s some background there; there’s merit.”

Wright has managed Health Works since 2004, and he’s worked at health food stores for about 25 years — experience he taps when he talks with customers.

“I’ve been accused of being a bad salesman, because I don’t really want to try to sell you something that I have to move,” he said, noting that his focus remains fixed on his customers’ health.

Wright’s shelves are stocked with various supplements and foods, including one package Skupienski pointed to while citing another reason he came to the store: certified organic wheatgrass powder.

“I looked for it elsewhere, and I couldn’t find it,” he said. “I found it here.”

For Wright and his customers, conversation seems to be an important tonic. Wright talks easily and at length when a customer is at the counter. The knowledge he draws on, he explained, comes from decades of working in health food stores.

“The most important part, probably, would be having 25 years of experience doing this, and the best part of that is listening to what people have to say and what they’ve used that’s worked for them,” he said.

Wright is clearly aware — especially as the seasons change — of what might be on his clients’ minds.

“Part of what’s going on right now that they should have started a bit earlier would be support for immune system function for allergies,” he said. “They’re starting to notice that some of the things coming up might not be to their liking.”

He mentioned molds and funguses that start to become uncovered, and he said people talk to him about allergies to grass pollens, rabbit brush and sagebrush. He added that tree pollen and various flowers will also be out soon.

“Most of the foodstuffs that are in here are going to be non-GMO,” he said, noting the importance of being vigilant when buying food.

“One has to be a wise consumer,” he said. “You’ve got to read the labels.”

Finding food that hasn’t been processed and doesn’t have additives can be a challenge. But he added, “We’re lucky, being out here, that we have access to wild game, which is some excellent, excellent protein.”

Wright acknowledged some of the products he sells can be tough for people on limited budgets.

“I do appreciate that,” he said. “We’ll try to find you something that will fit your budget. But there’s some constraints in doing that, because the manufacturers don’t make them for $5 a month, and if they do, you probably don’t want whatever that is.”

But some things in the store are free. Skupienski commented on the soft acoustic music that hovered in the background — also a kind of tonic.

“The music that he plays is somewhat soothing,” Skupienski said. “Using New-Age, tree-hugger terminology, there’s a good vibe here.”

Contact Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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