Meet Kym Gillett & Kevin Friesen
Kym Gillett and Kevin Friesen had both spent what seemed like a lifetime working in the corporate world. Both enjoyed parts of their job, but had grown increasingly dissatisfied with their inability to make a real difference in people’s lives. “It was all about the money,” Kym says of the company she worked for, and she was beginning to feel a different call, one that involved doing something that put people and the planet before profits.
So Kym and husband Kevin Friesen purchased a supplements store in Fort Nelson in 2007. Soon, though, they realized the location was inadequate for the big plans that they had. By 2009 they had purchased a piece of property with a building contaminated by mold and asbestos. They took the old building down and started to build a new one with the goal of being as eco-friendly as possible. The concept was different for the community, but locals quickly got behind the couple. After several setbacks, including the loss of half of their green and recycled building materials in a shipping accident, they finally opened their new doors in 2010.
The new almost 4,000 square foot store was barely recognizable in comparison to the old one. It has heat provided by a heat pump, soy-based insulation, shelving made of sustainable wood, and the majority of the store’s waste is recycled. Kym and Kevin are extremely grateful for the support Fort Nelson has given them, which in turn has allowed them to support more local groups and events than they can count. They’re also proud of their staff who are highly committed to their vision for a green, eco-friendly business and to providing extraordinary customer service.
Dynamic. Unique. Knowledgeable.
Down to Earth Health Shop is a next-generation health food store that’s committed to the well-being of the community as well as the health of the planet. The unique, just under 4,000
square foot store is packed full of nutritional supplements, health foods, holistic pet products, eco-friendly cleaning and baby products, natural body care products, books, eco-friendly and safe children’s toys and a purified water station. There’s even a vegetarian whole foods cafe with dishes that range from organic salads to vegan chocolate cake. The staff at Down to Earth Health Shop have a personal passion for and commitment to healthy living and are full of information on general nutrition as well as specific products and product lines within the store.
The building that houses the shop is unique and the first of its kind in Fort Nelson and much of northern BC. Built from sustainable, eco-friendly and recycled building materials, it features numerous types of green technologies, including heat pump heating, zero VOC paint and a built-in water purification system.
For its efforts to be “green,” and with the support of the local community, Down to Earth Health Shop was named the 2011 winner of the Small business BC Best Green Business Award.
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