GC: Organic Emporium opens second store in Cuero
June 7, 2012 at 1:07 a.m.
On the desk of Dr. Phylis Canion, a nutritional counselor in Victoria, sits an item void of all the natural effects of aging - rotting, to be specific.
That item is a hamburger from the popular fast-food chain, McDonald's. No, it's not for lunch, but rather it's there to make an example of how bad our daily diets may be for us.
The fast-food burger was purchased about nine months ago and, according to the doctor, there isn't a spec of mold or sign of bacteria or even an off odor.
"When I show people (the hamburger), I can tell them that this is problem with the food we are eating," she said. "I haven't done anything to it. People just can't believe it."
As a certified nutritional consultant, she talks to a lot of her patients about what goes into their diet. She said a lot of health problems can be traced to what they are eating.
Before opening her practice in Victoria, she and her husband lived in parts of South America, Africa and Asia. While she was there, she was able to study the diets of other countries and compare them to those in the U.S.
"People are not sick around the world like we are in this country," she said. "When I looked at what they eat, that was part of the problem - the food supply."
When she was addressing the problematic Western diet, she kept hearing there was no access to organic foods in the Golden Crescent, it became clear to her that she needed to be the one to give people access to healthier food options.
Open for business
In August 2010, Canion opened Organic Emporium in the Town and Country Shopping Center on Airline and Laurent streets. Her store offers customers all-organic products, from foods to supplements and other home products.
With the selection of high-quality products, she said the store attracts people from all over the Golden Crescent to shop.
"We oblige our customers. The happier they are, the happier we are," she said.
If a customer likes an organic product they purchased from other major cities, Canion and store manager Angie Briggs will make an effort to carry that product in the store for them.
"We do a lot of research," said Briggs, who has been with the store since 2010. "We carry your basic items to the latest trends."
She added that Canion is very serious about the organic lifestyle and works very closely with her employees to make sure that her customers know it.
"I knew it would be the ideal place to me to work and spend my days," said 40-year-old Briggs, who has been practicing the organic diet with her family for years now. "It's catching on. People come in and they want to do good for themselves."
In February, Canion opened a second location for the Organic Emporium in Cuero.
"There was demand from the people in the area," she said. "We have people come from El Campo, Shiner, Moulton, just all over."
The Cuero location, on Esplanade Street, is a smaller scale of the Victoria location, but offers customers the same high-quality products as the mothership store.
Liz Rodriguez, the Cuero store manager, said the community response has been amazing.
"A lot of people come in on their lunch break to buy a few things and eat lunch," she said. "It's almost overwhelming."
Thirteen years ago Rodriguez underwent gastric bypass surgery and made the decision to keep a closer eye on what she eats. With the help of Canion, who she has known for about seven years, she is learning more about organic foods every day.
"I eat a lot of (organic food) and I think it's great how it all works together. I just feel better," she said.
Customers come first
As the only organic retail store in the Golden Crescent, Canion said one of the goals of the store is to offer unique products for their customers.
"When you come into our store, you'll be amazed at how many of our products have the little (USDA Certified Organic) label on it," Canion said. "We don't sell any Styrofoam there or anything that is microwaveable because it's not good for you."
Another goal of the store is to offer the best products at the best possible price. Canion researches everything that goes on the shelves of her store.
"I work with a lot of the physicians here, so I know what they recommend to their patients," she said.
The store even offers healthy candies for children. Instead of including refined sugars, candies have ingredients like cane sugar and xylitol, an organic sweetener found in fruits and berries, which are recommended to parents by dentists.
"Everything is so good and healthy," Rodriguez added. "People are so impressed with what we have to offer them."
It goes back to the hamburger - untouched by decay - on Canion's desk. Eating natural food is ... well, natural, and helping people understand that is something she and the Organic Emporium want to spread throughout the region.
"When I was sick I never could get anybody to help me ... so when you want answers, its nice to have someone call you back with answers," Canion said.