by Diana Bulls
I recently had the pleasure of getting reacquainted with Ellen Mitchell, the owner of To Better Health, located at 1721-11th Street in downtown Reedley. Ellen and I hadn’t seen each other in probably 30 years, so it was a real treat to talk with her about her store.
Ellen moved to Reedley in 1975 and raised her boys here. She became interested in natural foods when she moved to Spokane, Washington, in 2003. The interest grew, and after returning to Reedley, she took a class through the Small Business Administration in 2012. After putting together a business plan, figuring out financing, and considering all the other requirements, she just “went for it.”
To Better Health opened in 2013 with four shelves and just a few products. But Ellen was committed to the business, and she was blessed with a supportive family, friends, and customers. One of those friends, Carol Jackson, serves as Ellen’s right hand. Carol has had a lifelong commitment to living healthy, and her knowledge and expertise have really been a valuable asset for Ellen.
Today, the store’s shelves are filled with a full range of organic and gluten-free products, the finest vitamin supplements available, and a wide choice of natural skincare options. The store carries Organic Pastures raw milk, cream, butter, and cheese produced locally in Fresno. Farm-fresh organic eggs, another popular store product, come from Kingsburg and Del Rey, and then there are a variety of “Top of the Hill” jams and jellies by Ruth Wardwell.
If you are looking for a healthy snack alternative, To Better Health has a great selection. According to Ellen, there are dried goji berries, organic chocolate bars, chips cooked in coconut oil (as opposed to corn oil), all kinds of gluten-free mixes, and all kinds of nuts.
To Better Health carries a ‘plethora’ of natural skincare options, including a line of products developed by Dr. Tori Hudson (a woman for women). You can also find Herb Pharm Kids Certified-Organic Alcohol-Free Herbal Formulas that support children’s immune system function. Only those herbs that “time and experience have proven safe and effective for children” are used by Herb Pharm.
Of course, I have to put in a plug for Rumford Baking Powder. Those of you who know me, know that I am considered the Queen of Rumford collectibles, and as soon as I stepped in the door, there was good old Rumford (the Wholesome Baking Powder) along with Rumford Cornstarch and Rumford Baking Soda! Rumford Baking Powder has been around since 1859 and is still all calcium acid phosphate—no aluminum—and non GMO.
The store runs a special promotion on “Frugal Fridays,” and there is an everyday discount of 10% on supplements for anyone age 50 and over. You also need to check out the Sale Table with discounts up to 50%. Store hours are Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
I asked Ellen what advice she might give to someone who was just getting interested in “going organic.” She said, “Start slow and be kind to yourself. Think 80-20. Be diligent 80% of the time and treat yourself 20% of the time.”
Ellen also says, that if she doesn’t carry an item, it can be special ordered.
Plans for the future include continuing to add more products and eventually participate in one of the “farm to table” programs where local farmers provide boxes of produce on a weekly or monthly basis depending on subscription.
But for now, Ellen is just happy providing her customers with “better health for a brighter tomorrow.”
To Better Health
Reedley, CA 93654
Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.