short story

A Small Yet Healthy Business

©2017 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

Front of Shop

The Forever Young Health Food shop, has been my go to place for over a decade.  I sought to avoid diseases that ultimately took my mother’s life.  Watching mom, while growing up was a lesson.  Most medications she was prescribed made her unwell.  The arthritis medication Vioxx crippled mom.  She went from being independent with chronic pain in her hands and knees; to suffering from chest pain and super high blood pressure.  Her kidney’s failed due to high blood pressure.  She died in 2012.  Finding alternatives to medication began with the book Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss.  I really had no one else to talk to about my concerns, so I read cover to cover.  I am currently on copy number three.  Manhattan boasts many a haven for the healthy; the Bronx has been slow to follow. back-to-eden Juice Bars are only now starting to populate our demographic.  Vegan and vegetarian restaurants located in this borough are known mostly through word of mouth. This is how I located my favorite shop Forever Young Health Food,  golden seal was my first purchase.  This small business had something more to offer. Educated guidance. I spoke with the owner, Gene Bass, about my journey. She recommended I read Prescription for Nutritional Healing, to supplement what I had been learning.   This has been a desk reference for my whole family since.  I visited my


    favorite haunt to find that it had moved from the corner of Jerome Avenue and Kingsbridge, to the Grand Concourse between 187 & 184th Street on the downtown side of the street.  I asked Gene if I could interview her for this piece to inform the community of her presence.  Also, to remind the community of  the need for healthier options.  The lavender and green walls draw you in.  The new location is bigger, brighter, and so inviting.  It is almost like a classroom with

dsc02739signs strategically located in every area.  Charts designed to inform and educate. My favorite is the sale table; located in the front of the store.  Like a tiny flea market; calling me toward great choices at reduced prices.  I Love It!  Newsletters and pamphlets act as a garnish to further engage one in a healthy discussion.

As we talked customers came and went.  I was struck by Gene’s kindness, she asks “How can I help you?”, with genuine concern. Many came in to request products that are working for them.  Some came in with questions.  The mom and pop feel is so rare these days.  Larger shops like GNC, don’t always have knowledgable, approachable, workers who can advise.

Q.  I noticed you keep loads of reading material around the shop?

My goal is to educate my community.  I always hope people will read what’s provided to help them become aware of the options available to them.

Q.  Who comes to visit the shop?  What are they looking for help with?

Well, all ages from teen to ninety. People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  I call this the triple threat.  Young people looking for protein supplements, multi-vitamins, and natural products that are free of chemicals and artificial ingredients.

Q. Is there a big difference between your millennial clients vs. Baby Boomers and Gen X?

Yes, people in there early twenties seem to be on a vegan/vegetarian trend.  Millennials are in tune, they come in with their smart phones in hand showing me pictures of what they want.  They are much more knowledgable about GMO’s, gluten free, and organic. Young men seek muscle building supplements. Young women weight gaining products.  Student’s want memory formulas and energy drinks; to help keep them functioning with their work/school routine.  I talk with them about the necessity for making healthy choices now, while they are young.

Older clients come in with health issues they are trying to combat.

Q.  What do you tell someone who is suffering from multiple health issues?

I have them focus on one thing at a time.  I am not a licensed practitioner, but I keep current researching noted periodicals.  I have taken several courses to build my own awareness.  I have 25 years of experience in this industry.  People sometimes need a different approach to healing.  Diet, exercise, and spiritual healing as well.  They need to be open to it.

Q.  What type of testimonials do you hear?

I have people coming in to tell me they are now cancer free.  Customers seeking help with fertility; return to tell me they’re pregnant.  Incorporating nutritious food, along with vitamins, exercise, and herbs is important for the healing process.

Q.  Are you a vegetarian or vegan?  Where do you shop for food?

No, I am not vegan.  I incorporate a lot of organic foods into my diet.  Whole grains, organic produce, organic chicken, wild caught salmon and other wild caught fish.  I shop here at the store, but also at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and local farmer’s markets.  I drink alkaline water to ensure that my body’s Ph level isn’t too acidic.  I avoid red meat.  Meat is highly acidic.  Diseases grow and thrive in acidic environments.

A good piece of advice is to wash all produce before eating.  Cantaloupe, watermelon, lemons should be rinsed to avoid bacteria transference.  As you cut into an unwashed fruit, you transfer all of the bacteria from the skin into the fruit.  Vinegar and lemon juice are great for washing produce.

I’ll end the interview here. I plan to add more to this title, in my effort to support small businesses.

There is so much to learn in regard to how to keep one healthy. Science agrees on the need for attention to diet.  But then science also creates genetically modified food.  People are often confused about what needs to be organic; supplements/herbs?  Education on how food is grown is available, but not highly publicized.  The Forever Young shop is essential because all people seek help within their own demographic first.  I will continue writing about this shop as a series.  Testimonials, current deals, and even product promotion.  We need to know what to eat, what can heal us with limited side effects, our options.  We also need to support small enterprise; especially those that offer positive influence.  Tune in to learn more.

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Related Books and Articles

The Effects of Vitamin D on Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism:

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2015) Michael Pollen

What to Eat? (2007) Marion Nestle

Science Daily:  Alternative Medicine News

Related Video:

In Defense of Food:  PBS presentation


  1. A wonderful post. It is great that you are showing this small business and how it works and helps the people. Lots of the old remedies and healing have been forgotten and it is up to us to bring them back and stop people becoming ill on the meds they have been prescribed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you I appreciate your support. I love this shop. I’ve gotten advice from Gene for my whole family. Hope all who read the piece check related articles. We should all know our options.

      Liked by 1 person

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