Who: Michael Smith
Job: Owner
Store: Nature’s Alternative
Where: Two stores in Arizona (Carefree and Scottsdale)

Q. What is the most common question you get from shoppers?

A. I don’t know if there’s a most common question. There are common ailments that people are dealing with right now. Some of the big ones are menopause and, during fall and winter, colds and flu. I deal a lot with allergies and people with chronic issues, as well. I will do consultations with customers. I talk to them about their lifestyle and what they are trying to accomplish. And then together the client and I formulate a program with different supplements that will fit their needs.

Q. What’s the store’s best-selling item and why?

A. Co-Q10. I’m a big advocate of heart health, and most of my customers are premenopausal or in menopause, and there is such a great risk of heart attack in that bracket. I sell a lot of Co-Q10 because I believe in it.

Q. Which are your favorite natural products?

A. I use a whole food multivitamin from New Chapter that I really like. I like Zyflamend, a natural anti-inflammatory, and Moducare, an immune balancer.

Q. To what do you attribute the success of your stores?

A. I think it’s a combination of things. I think owning and operating it is part of it. My parents work for me so it has a family sense to it. Education is a really big key. People understand why they’re taking something, and they are also learning about new things. I have quality products at discounted pricing.

Q. What’s your best shopping tip?

A. I would recommend that people find somebody they are comfortable with, find a health food store with someone to talk to. It’s not even necessary to buy something the first time. Go in and talk to someone; pick up some literature. It’s best that people find someone they trust.