With Nye County being ranked dead last in a county health study of Nevada, stores geared toward wellness are few and far between.
Ultimate Discount Health, located at 150 E. Highway 160, is the lone health food store in Pahrump, giving consumers healthier options than are found in most grocery stores.
Michele Popperwell worked for the specialty store for six years, before taking over the business two months ago after unfortunate circumstances.
“The previous owner, Margo Fine, did pass away in May and she bequeathed the store to me,” Popperwell said. “Because I worked for her, I actually inherited it, so I am just trying to keep what she had going.”
Ultimate Discount Health first opened in town in 1998, and has gone through three owners and a couple of site changes, but have been at their current location for the past five years.
The store offers a variety of vitamins, minerals, herbs, aromatherapy oils, fish oils, a small line of homeopathics, alternative sugars, flours, nuts and beauty products, all with health in mind.
The foods will vary as Popperwell explained she orders, “whatever sounds good when I am hungry ordering.”
With the daunting health ranking in the county, Popperwell thinks that a store like hers is vital to give those who want a more health-focused choice when it comes to vitamins, minerals and other food products.
“I think it’s very important,” she said. “We have a lot of retirees here who grew up in the health movement and so they understand the importance of it. For those people who are not living so healthy when something happens they get motivated to change, they can come here and have a health food store that’s not a big box store that’s not going to pay attention to them, that doesn’t know what they’re talking about and are only geared toward younger people.”
Popperwell finds that customers are split as far as knowing about the products she sells when they first come in.
“Half and half,” she said. “Half the people know a lot. I have got some customers that are experts in fields that I’m not so good at, so they actually help me out. And then the other half of people are just coming in because so and so said that they should try this, so we discuss and talk about things.”
Out of all the products, the ear wax candles are the most popular day-to-day seller, with other items spiking in popularity in different seasons.
“In January diet aids would be the No.1 seller, protein shakes and such,” Popperwell said. “October, November and December are more baking and cooking things.”
In addition to the health-conscious products, Ultimate Discount Health also sells reading materials on health-related matters, and more books will be on their way for the holidays.
Looking toward the future, Popperwell didn’t want to make too drastic of changes, but weeding out products that might be harmful was priority.
“My first commitment that I made to myself for 2016 is to revamp the beauty products,” Popperwell said. “A lot of brands out there in the health industry we’ve trusted for years and we thought they were good and safe and it turns out maybe they’re not.
“It turns out that they’re putting in new ingredients that are not good or there’s hidden things. So it’s my personal commitment to go throughout everything to make sure when a man or a woman come in to buy shampoo there is not one bad thing in there.”