The small shop is filled with dry goods and organic health foods. The walls are lined with all sorts of natural vitamins and minerals. The large front window is lined with houseplants. Owner Katy Jennings said these are not only lovely to look at but also provide clean air for the workers and guests. Similarly, Jennings said the lighting in the store is full spectrum light that mimics the sun.
The only health food store in Bowling Green, The Nutrition Center, celebrated its 9-year anniversary on Saturday with a customer appreciation day. Jennings said she owes much of its success to the support of WKU students and faculty.
The Bowling Green native said a lot of positive influences led to her opening the store, including her own beliefs in organic eating and holistic medicine.
Jennings said one of the challenges of owning the store is following the trends that come and go.
“The big craze when I first opened was the low-carb dieting,” she said. “Now the trend is whatever Dr. Oz says.”
Jennings said she always keeps in mind that students are here. She said college students seem to be more conscientious of getting nutrition from food than the average population. Students often come by the store to get healthy snacks as an alternative to junk food.
Jennings entered the whole foods scene after medical problems led her to do some research. In 2000, Jennings was certified in bioenergetics, the study of the transformation of energy in living organisms. Through these assessments, she evaluates what parts of a person are balanced and what parts are not.
The following year, she was certified in applied kinesiology. This testing uses muscle strength to evaluate what vitamins and minerals a person may be deficient in.
She is also a certified natural health professional and always tries to keep up with the newest advancements in nutrition. Jennings said she is a testimonial to what being health conscious can do. She takes nearly 10 supplements every day, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
“I don’t have to go to the doctor very often,” she said. “I have lots of energy. I don’t have hormonal imbalances.”
Juanita Rodriguez is a local massage therapist who met Jennings and began coming to the store eight years ago. She said massage therapy goes hand-in-hand with nutrition.
“I like having a health food store in town as an option,” she said. “I often send my clients over there. I hand out Katy’s cards all the time.”
Judy Duncan is the bookkeeper for the shop and Jennings’ assistant.
“We try to have different and unique things that set us apart,” she said. “We customize our products for our clients.”
Duncan said they are happy to place special orders for products they don’t carry.
“New customers often become regular customers,” she said. “Our policy is to help everyone who walks in the door in some way.”