Recently, several natural products retailers have asked me about discounting in the form of “rewards” or “loyalty” programs. Because most natural products retail stores operate on thin net profit margins—usually 4–6% before paying taxes—discounting in any form can badly damage your profits and, at worst, may be devastating to your entire business.

In a day and age when information is at the ready (often too much information is at the ready), it is actually a shocker when we can’t find the answer to a question. Say, for example, “What are we eating?”

What’s the best way to achieve a healthy smile? Regular use of toothpaste, floss and mouthwash, of course! But, there’s a lot to learn about how natural ingredients support healthy gums and teeth, as well as some alternative ways to achieve long-term oral health.

It would take at least a slim volume to provide you with all of the necessary nuances of preparing your own trademark application. An article can hardly do it justice, so if you want to protect your trademark and feel uncomfortable about doing it yourself, consult with an attorney qualified in trademark matters and have that attorney prepare and file your application. If, on the other hand, you want to protect a trademark you created through a Federal trademark registration (valid in all 50 states and territories), and feel that you could handle an online form, then, here is your brief guide.

The interests of young adults are more in tune with athletic performance than with preventing the diseases of aging. John J. Cannell, M.D., is reaching out to the young adult audience to help them be healthier for life, by teaching them how to become faster, quicker and stronger as athletes. However, we all can learn how to be healthier from his teachings. Dr. Cannell is a physician, scientist, researcher, teacher and perhaps most importantly, a health activist.

In today’s natural products industry, some say it is the best of times, and others, the worst of times.

“Dark chocolate is good for your heart! It’s good for your brain! It energizes you!” Too often we hear about the health benefits of dark chocolate without much explanation of why it is good. These reports are not just a way to make us feel better about the sweets we ingest. So, what is it about dark chocolate that has nutrition enthusiasts so excited? It turns out it is not the sugary milk chocolate bar we can thank; it’s cocoa.

Last month, we discussed with Dr. Robert Smith how the media distorted a questionable observational study with multivitamins. Just as scientists were setting the record straight about that study, a vitamin E study captured headlines. Fortunately, Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., quickly distributed accurate information through the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS). Dr. Saul was kind enough to further discuss vitamin E and the recent report with us.

Giving seminars around the country, I ask natural products retailers to tell me why they think it is important to tell the story of their store. “Because we care,” says one. “Because we’re knowledgeable,” answers another. “Because we help,” offers yet a third. All true. But the most important reason in my view is, if you don’t tell the story of your store—what you do, and why and how you do it—the world will gladly fill in the vacuum left by your silence.