The Little Store That Could: The Healthy Way Market

By / Photography By Pamela Parks | December 15, 2015
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Adam Goettelman
Adam Goettelman, new owner of The Healthy Way in Sturgeon Bay.

New owner building on Healthy Way’s enduring reputation

The Healthy Way Market in Sturgeon Bay is the little natural foods store that could for its friends and neighbors in Door County. With a focus on wellness, quality products, and customer service, new owner Adam Goettelman has hit the ground running since April and has big ideas planned for the near future.

“As the farm (Steep Creek Farm) started to stabilize in the last couple of years, I started looking for something else to do in addition to farming. I knew Fred (former owner Fred Wittig) because we had had conversations and I was selling him produce. I considered what the need is in the area and what people are looking for as well as looking for a storefront for our farm,” Goettelman said. “It was a lot of chance and some planning.”

Located at 218 S. Madison Avenue, the Healthy Way Market has a 20- year history of providing customers access to natural food options and wellness resources. The store was opened by Al Stuart, an acupuncturist, and included a juice bar. Fred and Dawn Wittig owned it for nearly 15 years, and now Goettelman. “It has been a healthy foundation for the community for a long time,” Goettelman said.

Goettelman is not new to owning a small business. In addition to the farm, he owned Car Quest for several years. It gave him retail skills that have come in handy with his new adventure.

“My focus is to move the store to a natural foods grocery store with an awesome wellness division. In addition to groceries, it is a vitamin and supplement center and a borderline alternative health clinic,” Goettelman said. He also made a commitment to local producers. “I want to work with a lot of local producers and Northeast Wisconsin products, which I think I did well with over the summer. I am focusing on being as close to non-GMO (not genetically modified) as possible or things being organic from food and body products, and with products that you can’t find at the big stores in Door County.”

With his background of farming, Goettelman is passionate about looking at the environmental source of products and produce and holding high standards.

“A healthy body starts with a healthy environment and that is where my commitment starts … with non-GMO products and helping make sure we have an environment that people can get their optimal health from,” Goettelman said. “We need strong agriculture and bio diversity because that produces stronger food with stronger minerals in it.”

When selecting products to offer on the shelves of the Healthy Way Market, Goettelman uses the following principles: the fewer the ingredients, the better; stay away from palm oil because its production is causing environmental concerns; prefer non-GMO; prefer organic; and select B Corp certified products. (B Corp certified is a certifi cation process for companies that meet high social and environmental standards and are often certified organic, non-GMO, or are powered by the sun, etc.)

Within those standards, customers at the Healthy Way Market will find everything from A to Z on the shelves including fresh locally grown organic produce, raw nuts, nut butters, dried super fruits, coconut oils and other nut oils, health and beauty products for the whole body, local eggs, grass-fed meat, bison jerky, teas, beverages, household cleaning supplies, chips and snacks, sprouted food, vegan options, milk and yogurt from Clover Meadows, lactose-free dairy items, milk alternatives, veggie meats, alternative sweeteners, and much, much more. The Healthy Way Market also offers a variety of bulk herbs, spices and teas. Goettelman is adding more gluten-free products.

Local products include granola by Door County Loves Granola, certified organic sunfl ower oil made in Pulaski by Century Sun Oil, Steep Creek Farm produce, and Apple Blossom body care products. Goettelman also works with local distributor Trust Local Foods.

Customer service is also a priority at the Healthy Way Market, and Goettelman credits a strong team of knowledgeable employees who have many years of dedication to wellness.

“I have four awesome women helping me. I would not be able to do it without them. Those four ladies are super intelligent in natural lifestyle and they complement each other nicely, which is good for the customer and for the store,” Goettelman said.

The team consists of Nan Jeanquart, Gail Horkman, Cindy Knigge and Alberta Erickson. Knigge and Erickson have worked at the store for all three owners.

Future plans for the Healthy Way Market include offering classes in a variety of wellness areas, including raw food cooking, vitamins and supplements, sprouting classes and essential oils.

Currently, a website for the Healthy Way Market is being built.

Goettelman knows it is an important tool to communicate with customers but felt like he needed to get the wheels under the bus first. “We wanted to get the store fixed up, get a decent product mix in, and get a good feel of the base of the store,” Goettelman said. “We are starting to click and it feels great.”

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