Over the course of more than four decades, local business Nutrition World has grown into a holistic wellness center that offers products from health foods, supplements, CBD products, information resources, and pet care to the services of 16 practitioners with distinct specialties like acupuncture, midwifery, thermography screenings, chiropractic care, and much more.
"I truly have taken on the role of an educator," founder and owner Ed Jones says. "We're not here to treat diseases, we're here to educate a person so they have options and can be an advocate for their own health."
The store, which was named the 2018 Retailer of the Year by Vitamin Retailer, has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings, with the actual store growing by 10,000-square-feet and the staff size increasing by 27.
On a normal day, Nutrition World will serve 250 to 300 customers along with the customers that use their consultation and clinical services. Jones credits the store's expansion to their continued dedication to providing quality products and being adaptable to a changing business environment.
Nutrition World has regularly adjusted their product and service offerings to align with the needs of customers, and this fluid business model is driven by keeping a finger on the pulse of new developments and literature in the health industry. Jones is an avid writer himself, having published over 1,000 articles and three e-books concerning health, and he also hosts a weekly podcast titled "The Holistic Navigator."
Although Nutrition World is a one-stop shop for everything health and nutrition, the store was dramatically different when Jones first opened up shop in 1979.
After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in criminal justice in 1978, Jones came back home to Chattanooga and began working as a police officer. Despite beginning a career in law enforcement, Jones knew his calling was within the wellness industry and remained dedicated to following his passion.
"We were at Four Squares on Mountain Creek for three years, almost went out of business, tried to sell the business, but no one would buy it," Jones says. "I was working for the police department and the store at the same time with one employee, but just by sheer perseverance, we were able to keep the doors open and turn the corner."
In recent years, Jones has begun passing the torch to his daughter, Cady Kuhlman. She has spearheaded another expansion into women's health care with the creation of The Retreat, a women's healing center.
Business: Nutrition World
Address: 6201 Lee Highway
"We hold events every month ranging from yoga classes to salsa classes and lectures by women's groups," Kuhlman says. "Our goal is to provide a community for open-minded people."
The latest venture for Nutrition World is their Wellness+ program, which is a monthly membership to the store and provides members with unlimited access to their wellness consultants and dietitians as well as 5% rewards on products purchased in store or online.
"People trust us because our standards keep rising, and we're always looking for ways to improve our business and help our community," Jones says. "It's not about selling here, it's about helping people, and if it helps people, we're going to sell it."