Sandra Brunner is the new owner of Health 2000 in Victoria Ave.
"I always said I would love to do it if I can," she said.
Sandra is a regular behind the Health 2000 counter on Tuesdays and Thursdays and has worked there for 12 years, as an employee of Harvey and Linda Green. Now, while she intends to still work on those days, she will be there more often in her capacity as business owner.
All the current staff will remain and little will change in the short term. While she does have some new ideas, she also has to keep within the guidelines of the Health 2000 co-operative.
After an open day last Saturday, Sandra will now work with the existing store team — Cindy Munn, nutritionist and herbalist, Michelle Hill, naturopath and Renske Power, acupuncturist. In the meantime Sandra will continue her Aramoho naturopathy clinic.
Health 2000 is a New Zealand company with its warehouse in Hamilton. This year it celebrated 25 years in business. The Whanganui store started 15 years ago.
Sandra attended the Health 2000 national conference in September.
"It was great to be part of the bigger thing and I like being part of Health 2000."
She says the co-operative model is less restrictive than a franchise and there is more democracy involved, with store owners having a say in the business.
"It's like a big family. It will be nice to exchange knowledge with [store owners]. We have training days in Auckland which I will try and attend."
Sandra loves the Whanganui business and has learned a lot about it over the past 12 years, which is why she did not hesitate when the offer to purchase was presented.
Sandra came to New Zealand from Switzerland and loves Whanganui, although she tries to get back to Switzerland every year.
Specialist health shops as we have here are unknown in her home country.
"This shop suits me. I never felt like not going to work," she says. "I'm lucky to have a job that's my passion and interest."