EDMOND, Okla. -- Pratt Foods, Shawnee, Okla., will step up their devotion to whole health when they open a new store here equipped with an unprecedented "whole health team" -- a pharmacist, a registered dietitian, a physician and an exercise physiologist, said J.B. Pratt, chief executive officer for the nine-store retailer.
He said the 32,000-square-foot store will debut, within the next two months, as a stand-alone Pratt Wellmarket, located on the corner of Bryant and Danforth streets. Four other Pratt Wellmarket sections are incorporated within the conventional Pratt Foods Supermarkets format, but this is the first full-fledged Wellmarket unit, according to Kathy Honea, whole-health coordinator.
"The new store really represents what we think is going to be the most positive results of 15 years of effort advocating human and environmental health benefits through information, products and services," Pratt told SN. He said it is the first time a Pratt Foods store will have a registered dietitian on a full-time basis, and the first time the retailer will offer counseling from a full-time exercise physiologist.
"Like a good diet, activity is an integral part of wellness," he said.
According to Pratt, the new unit will have a place for in-store physician Dale Peterson, M.D., to give lectures and a sit-down area for people that contains computers from Healthnotes, Portland, Ore. The store will also have heavy emphasis on natural and organic foods and merchandise environmentally friendly paper products. The store will also feature a floral department, deli, sushi bar and gourmet foods. Approximately 4,000 to 5,000 square feet will be devoted to pharmacy, whole health consultation offices, and the natural health and beauty care section.
"We're taking it to another level of education through information, more products, and more services than we've ever offered," Pratt said. The store will have "the aura of a conventional supermarket, and we're adding legitimacy and credibility for human health that the licensed practitioners provide," he said.
While he has store hours one day a week at an Oklahoma City unit, Dr. Peterson expects to work more days "depending on demand" at the new Edmond store, said Pratt.
"We've gotten so many calls about the store that we're really encouraged that he'll be there more than one day a week, probably most of the week," he said.
Dr. Peterson noted that Edmond's combination of the right demographics combined with large employment in their local school system, a college-town atmosphere, and predominant white-collar community, will make the store very successful. "The interest in health and health products is high," he said.
The former full-time family practitioner of 20 years joined Pratt Foods almost three years ago to offer a one-on-one relationship to patients, he said. According to Dr. Peterson, his hour-long consultations involve patients who either are in decent health and want to stay that way, or patients who have fallen through the cracks and want to get back to a healthier lifestyle. "We work on getting rid of the problem [through examination of their diet, environmental toxins they deal with, level of activity, and work and lifestyle changes] instead of writing a prescription to get rid of the problem," he told SN.
Dr. Peterson said 85% of the ailments people suffer from, such as heart disease and cancer, can be prevented through drinking pure water, exercising, eating naturally healthy foods and taking supplements.
"I'm committed to the grocery store because the information isn't getting out there," he said. Because health is directly related to what consumers eat and drink, "the grocery store makes perfect sense," said Dr. Peterson.
While initial consultation visits run $75 and follow-up visits are $50, Dr. Peterson also conducts free store tours with patients and hosts a weekly radio show called "Your Health Matters."
"People need to understand the choices they have, like avoiding food additives and eating soy," he said. "In virtually everything they're using, there are healthier choices."
Pratt's commitment to creating a grocery store that has strong ties with whole health and pharmacy stemmed from his medical school education and grocery business background.