PASSAIC, N.J. -- What’s the secret to business success? For A-1 Nutrition Store, a funky vitamin shop and marketplace that will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in April, an array of products at good prices has always helped. But one thing has helped it survive big competition, the rise of nutrition competitors and Internet sales.
“I know it’s our customer service and catering to the customer’s needs,” said owner June Neblung, 49, of Ringwood, who took over the store at 210 Main Ave. from her mother Jeanetta Brancaccio, about 20 years ago.
The store specializes in gluten-free foods, kosher foods, organic produce, homeopathy, herbs, vegetarian and vegan foods and vitamins. It sells about 10,000 products.
“We offer products that you would only give to your children,” said Neblung, who is the youngest of six children and has two teenage boys of her own with her husband, Kevin.
To help keep prices low, A-1 is in a buying group called Independent Natural Food Retailers Association, which enables the store to buy at group rates “and give great sales.” A-1 also has started a loyalty program that has been well received.
Neblung stressed that it’s that extra-special treatment that A-1 provides -- from helping customers find an odd product, to doing research on their behalf, to starting a text-message ordering service -- that keeps them coming back. Kevin Neblung, 49, does in-person deliveries.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as following through with a return phone call. People thank us for that,” June Neblung said.
The store will be celebrating its 40th anniversary April 1-2 with giveaways and raffles, and it will be launching organic fair-trade coffee sales, with a cup for 40 cents.
“We’re in business,” June said. “We want to make a living. But we want to be more than that, too.”