Natural-foods store Better Health is relocating from its East Stadium Street location to Washtenaw Avenue, where it will rebrand itself as Better Health Market and Café. The new health produce store will open April 12 with its grand opening on April 18, and will feature an expanded selection of produce, in-house food and kombucha on tap.
Owner Tedd Handlesman wanted to offer customers other options besides vitamins and supplements, so he chose to expand Better Health to sell more produce and prepared foods.
“Our mission is our name, to help improve and better the health of everyone that patrons our establishment,” Handlesman said. “We want to continue to grow and to do that with new markets and locations.”
In addition to the Nature’s Kitchen Café, the new location will feature a kombucha bar. Here, customers will have access to a draft selection of kombucha, a fermented tea filled with probiotics. According to Handlesman, the kombucha will be available by the glass or customers can bring and fill their own containers.
Better Health Market and Café employs an on-site nutritionist and culinary staff, and will host community events and seminars focused on health and wellness.
“We’re close to customers and plugged into the local community, and we support a lot of local vendors where a lot of bigger chains don’t have the desire or drive to do that,” Handlesman said. “We try to provide education in our store and better everyone’s health by educating and offering superior products at a superior price.”
LSA junior Ainsley Belisle started going to Better Health four years ago after she had developed an allergy to gluten.
“For me, they’re really good about having lots of different options for allergies,” Belisle said. “They’re very nice; I remember we were at the store asking if they had something, and they were like ‘No, but we’ll order it.’”
When it comes to running an organic food store, competition is always a challenge. According to Handlesman, new competitors entering and exiting the market keeps owners on their toes.
“With Amazon buying Whole Foods, it’s becoming more of a mature business,” Handlesman said. “It’s a challenge that way, but we’ve been able to grow through it by taking good care of our customers and making sure they get a different value than they can get from anyone else.”
Better Health Market and Café offers a wide selection of organic produce. The store provides sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free products, in addition to a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options.
LSA junior Jonathan George regularly grows fruits and vegetables in his spare time and enjoys having access to the freshest produce he can find. George believes students should try to buy fresh produce if they’re able.
“Well first, it’s healthier and it’s just more interesting,” George said. “People don’t realize just the variety of fruits and vegetables available to us at these stores. And it tastes better too.”