Natural and organic foods have become democratized, and supermarket retailers have made registered dietitians available to the masses, but now health aspirations could become even more attainable as Andronico’s Community Markets adds certified holistic health coaching to the mix.
Health coaches are health professionals who educate people to create healthy habits and sustainable lifestyle changes. Andronico’s CEO, Suzy Monford, who is herself a certified holistic health coach and international group exercise instructor, explains that a health coach’s approach is holistic in that it addresses nutrition and exercise along with other lifestyle factors such as sleep and even personal relationships.
In addition to addressing the food, supplement and nutrition needs of Andronico’s shoppers, in-store health coaches will refer shoppers to the retailer’s fitness partners, which include 24 Hour Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness and the YMCA. These facilities will in turn refer members to Andronico’s.
It’s all part of the retailer’s just-launched FitMarket consumer-facing program. It involves strategically positioning fitness tips and health coaching messages throughout the store. A message in the produce section might educate shoppers about the health benefits of berries, while others give tips on stress management and sleep.
But I think that the benefits of living well will be best conveyed to shoppers by Andronico’s store associates, many of whom are excited to take part in the chain’s compelling new corporate wellness program called FitBank.
Full- and part-time employees who’ve passed their 90-day probation period are eligible for the program, whereby an employee purchases a membership under the corporate rate that Andronico’s has negotiated with its fitness partners. Each time the employee works out, they earn 15 minutes in their FitBank. Once they reach eight hours they can cash that time in for either a day’s pay or an unpaid day off of work. Their FitBank balance is then set back to zero and the process starts over again.
Where interest in other corporate wellness programs tends to fall off over time, FitBank is designed to be sustainable. As Monford points out, requiring that employees purchase their own membership sets them up for a long-term commitment. I expect the program to be a success since it involves all level of employees rather than alienate certain groups. It’s also purely voluntary, although I can’t image why any employee wouldn’t want to take part.
Not just Andronico's employees, but also the chain and its shoppers stand to benefit. Monford, who will share details and early learnings from the program at The Health and Wellness Summit Presented by SN at next month’s Natural Products Expo East show, frames it this way:
“The better I feel, the more I’m smiling, the more I engage with people and the more work I’m able to do. I’m more efficient and just happier and that spreads virally in an exciting and positive way and you start to create a buzz inside the store that is really priceless.”
That's what I call a holistic approach to business.