by Stephen Dafoe
A popular local shop will close at the end of July. Neighbors Vitamin Shop / Morinville Health Foods will close its doors when the lease expires July 31.
When Neighbors Vitamin Shop opened five years ago, owners Gladys and Marvin Kublik were looking to offer the community something it did not have at the time.
The couple spent 27 years of their married life farming beef cattle in Barrhead. When they retired from farming, Gladys spent four years working in a health food store in Barrhead. In the spring of 2011, she decided it was time to start one of her own.
In looking for a location for their new shop, they were faced with two stores in Barrhead, two in Westlock, and settled on Morinville because there were no health food stores in the community and because they were impressed with what they saw in the town.
But while the Kubliks were drawn to Morinville five years ago, Gladys was drawn to the idea of healthy living some time before she began working in a health food store in 2007.
Over the past half decade that Neighbors Vitamin Shop has operated in Morinville, the shelves have been stocked full of a wide variety of products, so much that Kublik said the present location was no longer big enough.
It was that lack of space, combined with the lease coming to an end that had the couple contemplating what they should do. Add in wanting to spend time with some new family members, and the choice became a bittersweet one.
“In the five years we’ve been here, we’ve acquired two grandchildren,” Gladys Kublik said. “They’re both in the United States, and they’re both young. We would like to get to know them and have them remember us. It’s better to do that when they are young rather than later.”
The store owner said the early days were tough when the store was new, and they were trying to get the word out that they were open for business. The first three years were a slow but steady build; the last two have seen solid support from Morinville and area shoppers.
Kublik said she would most miss the wonderful customers who have supported the store over the years, people she and her staff have gotten to know.
“It’s very bittersweet for me because I really enjoy being here,” Kublik said. “I’ve really gotten to know some really wonderful people. We have terrific customers, and there are terrific people in Morinville.
“We’ve had so much support from people who have said, ‘We’re glad you’re here.’ People are happy they don’t need to go to St. Albert. Retail is really changing because of online purchasing, and people need to find something that is more service oriented, something that is more difficult to order online.”
The Kubliks combated online shopping by carrying an ever-expanding inventory. Having now outgrown the space they occupied five years ago, the couple was faced with deciding to stay in the current location, find a larger spot, one with ground-level access for people with strollers and walkers.
“The potential for growth is really here,” she said of the business, adding the inventory has doubled since opening. “Our biggest weakness is we no longer want to commit the time it takes to move to a new shop.”
Kublik said she would love to see the store continue and that the name and fixtures are something an interested party could purchase.
In the interim, the Kubliks will continue their retirement sale with significant discounts for current and new customers.
Neighbors Vitamin Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Their website is located at www.neighborsvitaminshop.com.