Getting To Know Your Host: Ed Jones
Welcome to the Nutrition World Podcast! We’re so excited to launch our new show. Today, we’re getting to know Ed Jones. Ed is the owner and founder of Nutrition World. Ed decided to start Nutrition World in 1979 and has a very interesting story about how he got to where he is today.
SOME TOPICS WE DISCUSS:
- What caused Ed to get into the health food store business? (4:04)
- What has changed at Nutrition World over the years? (6:58)
- Where does Ed see the future of our industry heading? (9:33)
- What are some things Ed has discovered in his career that have been life changing for him? (13:42)
- What are some things that we can look forward to at Nutrition World? (16:54)
- The biggest demise of this country is the myth that fat is unhealthy. (14:04)
- Statin drugs lower CoQ10 in the body. (15:28)
- Build a team of people that can help you heal. (18:08)
Brian Strickland 00:03
Hey, Ed, welcome to the new studio, we’re so excited to finally get this going. This is something that we have obviously had in the works for a long time. And we’ve definitely had our fair share of technical difficulties, but we’re glad to finally be doing it and get it up and running. This is our first episode of the nutrition world podcast. And today, I really just wanted to talk to you kind of about your background, what it is about natural health that gets you so fired up and just a little bit of the history about nutrition world. So I think to start us off, if you could tell me just kind of your story a little bit of why nutrition worldwide. Why 40? Over 40 years ago, did you start a natural health food store in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where there was nothing like it? And what motivated you to do that?
Ed Jones 00:57
Well, you almost were making me afraid when I’m back on it. Because yes, it was one of a kind, there was no doubt there was, I think one little health store name Arnis nutrition. And he actually played into part of my motivation. But to go back one further step was about 1967 When my dad had invited a Shaklee salesman to my, our house, lived on Midland Pike, and she came in with an array of knowledge and also products, she talked about food and the power of healthy eating and how it can reduce disease, help us live longer, help us have less suffering. And she showed these bottles of special elixirs called vitamins. And I was mesmerized because I all of a sudden the light went off. That was if we can alter and lessen suffering simply by food, food must be an extremely powerful piece to the puzzle of living and Aging Gracefully. That was at about nine years old. I was thinking that well, at that point, you know, there’s nothing you can do in 1967 as a about a fifth grader. That’s what I was. But it never left me and I started reading at the drugstores the magazines at JC Murphy’s at East Gate. But I would start talking to pharmacist anytime we went to any drugstore Eckers being the number one and I’d ask the pharmacist about these nutrients. Why does this say this? What does this dude and he would for a few minutes, give me his grace and then get tired of talking? Well, there was a small little health store and I rarely talk about it name RNAs, nutrition and Eastridge. And Arne was an ex post office employee. He had a tremendous passion for health and healing as I have accumulated myself, and he really liked talking to me. So I would ride my bicycle there or I had a small little tiny mini like motorcycle moped, when I got a license and every day or every other day after school, I’d go to our knees, and he was in a straightedge and we talked he explained what homeopathic medicines where and what herbs did and showed me the bottle and he was instrumental in further feeding that passion. And then I became a police officer got married and and I had worked for GNC for one quick summer before that. And in the police car, a midnight shift, I would listen to cassette tapes on nutrition and healing and herbs and vitamins. All this time watching what the world was doing as far as friends and family, which was they’re getting fatter, they’re getting more unhealthy. They’re getting on more drugs, they’re having serious side effects from just a poor lifestyle. And it seemed that everyone was clueless about it like it had this is just part of living. And for some reason I know it wasn’t it had to be better options than just giving in to aging and disease and overweight pneus and feeling bad and anxiety and aches and pains. There had to be better ways. Because what was they were doing wasn’t working. It was just barely treating the symptom. Well, at that time, I’ve worked on the police department for three years wonderful education for me, but I was born to be a entrepreneur I believe, and also but more so a healer if you wanted to use that general term for me. And I opened Nutrish world in 1979 on mountain creek road. It most people probably don’t remember that. But it was a mall that had a hopeful promise that didn’t work out. Well. I was there for several years and then ended up coming to Brainerd village and opening there had to stores for several years and then close the one in Hickson and just maintain the one in Brainerd village.
Brian Strickland 04:38
That’s incredible. So even from a very, very young age, you had an interest in this industry and you made it happen even when there was just a single person in the area you were going to you were bound and determined to figure out what was going on with that. That’s awesome. Tell me about what it was like I mean you said you you had this entrepreneur entrepreneurial spirit Was it scary opening a store at that time? I mean, you were fairly young at the age or at the time, right?
Ed Jones 05:07
I was quite young. It’s one of the blessings of being young is also being foolish. I think, you know, if I knew at 21, what I know at 50, I probably would not do as many things because we got to have that Superman cape on sometimes to delve into the journey of life. And I think it’s a wonderful part of life if you have some common sense to go along with it. But yes, looking back, it was it was a bad business plan, had no experience, I heard one person and we worked very diligent and very hard. It took us over three years to finally break a $200 day at the store. I mean, if people shop a lot now, many people spend 200, themselves when they come in, if they’re loading up on their supplements, or on certain foods, or pet food or whatever we sell. And I continue to work to play Sparkman and did the store and I was married, my wife worked at Unum. And so between all that we could pay the bills. But I didn’t earn anything for several years, which was fun, because I was doing what I was brought to this earth to do, which is empower people with knowledge about the toolkit that can keep us healthier, and make us hopefully stay alive more, even if it doesn’t make us stay alive, more the quality of life is what I’m after. I’m 64 I’ve lived a really darn good life I want to live to be 94. But I if I had not known what I’ve known, I would be like a 94 year old now. And I’m not in most ways I hobble around with some hip issues and bursitis. But other than that, I’m extremely pleased the payoff of my habits of my life.
Brian Strickland 06:48
So when was it that you realize that okay, this is a real thing, like this business plan is going to work? Around what time did you think that this is something that could really take off?
Ed Jones 06:58
It was many, many years. And what happened was in Briner village, I had a small store, maybe 1200 square feet. Having a vision of the future we decided to and if the old timers remember this, a garden store named Sid Varner’s, he was a privately owned garden store. And he was in Brainerd village. He passed away and they closed his store. And that’s where I decided I’d move into so it was four times maybe five times bigger than the original store on up in render village. Well guess what? The overhead, of course, was substantial, very scary overhead. First year that we were open, we dropped 20% of business we we didn’t even equal who equaled in the small store. Very frightening, very much. But the next year, it started turning around. And with working diligently, five and six days a week for 42 years, we started catching momentum, the more and more of the people who started reading and stories, and just communication and interest started growing. Now keep in mind, this was a time when the medical community 99.9% of us, DOD them did not approve of a nutrition store. It was voodoo. It was hokey. It was it was something you steer away from so we had no support from anyone in this town, from any medical community. None whatsoever. And so we had to go journey on our own.
Brian Strickland 08:28
But that’s changed it right? I mean we have a lot more support than we used to?
Ed Jones 08:32
A whole lot more. We also have more studies, PubMed, which is the the place where you can actually post real studies from scientific literature. It is we didn’t have that thing. So now when someone who’s a skeptic can say, What do you mean that in acetylcysteine? NAC is good for the lungs? That’s just a lie. No, it’s not PubMed has, like 1020 30,000 references of studies that you can examine. So it’s not we can we have a background now to fall back on that proves the value of food and supplements for not only maintaining health, but building your health back if you’ve been suffering through some disorder or disease.
Brian Strickland 09:14
Yeah, absolutely. So let’s talk about currently you’re we’re now at a location on the highway. How long have we been here at this location?
Ed Jones 09:22
You know, I’m terrible with exact memories, but I think about 12 to 13 years.
Brian Strickland 09:27
Okay. And I’ve been here six years, I think now so. So looking forward. Now obviously, the current state of affairs is really unique. We’re going through a pandemic. I think people are much more aware of their health or lack of health than they’ve ever been before. So where do you see this industry going forward? What are some of the things that you think we could see in the years moving forward?
Ed Jones 09:58
I’m very optimistic in most ways He’s always a little bit fearful of government intervention that’s unfair based on agendas of profit and power. Because the pharmaceutical industry is so, so powerful and they want to gobble up anything that competes against them. Well, we’ve seen a trend to pharmaceutical industries, purchasing nutritional companies. So they are in one arm of theirs is knowing the potential the other arm is we’re not really sure what’s going on. Is that a method to get more control? Or is it not? Time will tell. I think there’s no way that you can always continue to smother truth and the truth of intervention with lifestyle supplements and an N has seen has come and I don’t think it’s going to go. And we also have more and more physicians who are so interested in what we can term integrative, or functional or holistic methods to help their patients. The hard part is that insurance companies control so much of how much time a normal physician can spend. They can’t do that. You cannot spend 11 minutes with a patient and ask them about their sleep, their food, what are they eating, talk about testing for certain things that may improve their health, not just look for diseases, it can’t happen in 11 minutes. So we’re seeing a bigger group of concierge physicians who who can spend the time it’s all about time. Opposition long, long, long ago said in history, if you’d let a patient talk long enough, they will diagnose their own disease. It’s so true, because I have worked very hard to become a skilled listener, I’d rarely unless I’m in a hurry, I will let the person tell me, and they ended up telling themselves what they need to hear, without realizing and I just make some clarity to the situation.
Brian Strickland 11:48
Yeah, having that personal relationship is really important when it comes to health because the more we know about people and their lifestyle, their eating habits, the more that we can determine what may or may not be good for them correct?
Ed Jones 12:01
Well, it’s the only method if not your, your, your flow floating in the dark, you know, and I use the analogy of a tree, you look at a tree, and we have two trees in our nutritional world, because of this example, you got a tree, it has its its root structure, and it has the upper structure with all the leaves. And if I’m not being harsh, but traditional thinking on health generally only looks at the leaves, if the leaves are wilting, they’re diseased, or the bark on the tree is having some trouble, we’re going to throw something on it, we’re going to give it a chemical, we’re going to kill this, we’re going to do this. And you know what the leaves might look better for a bit. But the reason 99 of the time that leaves our suffering or the tree outside the ground is because the roots, the root structure, the nutrition, the acid alkaline balance, the enough water, enough sunshine, enough this enough that we need to look into humans root system, and that root system isn’t done by a 11 minute consultation with a CBC blood test and then writing two prescriptions, it can’t be done. And so we have you know, at this point, we have 17 practitioners who who believe the way I do or they wouldn’t be here. And we also keep a big communication with other people outside of our circle. So we can empower other people who need these services. Because going down the traditional route is sometimes going to work but most the time if it’s chronic, usually it doesn’t.
Brian Strickland 13:34
It’s it’s more about symptom masking, then it is about healing a lot of the time, unfortunately. So given your experience, obviously, you’ve been doing this for a long time, you’ve seen trends come and go. Are there any that stick out to you over the 40 plus years that you’ve been doing that, that you were like, wow, this is really unique. And this is something that not only I want to implement in my own life, but I think that will stick around for a really long time.
Ed Jones 14:04
Well, there were trends that were quite powerful that we all forget with years passing had to do with food, one of which was the biggest demise of this country was the myth. That fat causes us to be unhealthy. What happened when all that came out, and they looked at rabbits who had heart disease, they looked at this yellow stuff called cholesterol and all of a sudden they went crazy, kind of like in today’s world except crazy on different level. Oh, fats killing us. We need to eat low fat foods, we need to run from fat. All that has been a demise for this country because what happened is everybody started buying low fat food, which means high carbohydrate food. It generally isn’t protein, it’s high carbs. And we’ve created a nation full of 40% obesity and insulin resistance. And and because we had about 25 years of low fat eating, it’s simply doomed us and I I’m a person who believes heavily in healthy fats not unhealthy in every single meal, from olive oil to coconut oil, to avocados to MCT oil that helps burn body fat. And I just still we deal with people all the time who just cannot mentally bring their selves to eat healthy fat because they spent so much time being on indoctrinated of that, well, that has hopefully changed a lot, we’re helping to do that in our little world here. And then supplementally, there’s been some supplements, like, let’s just use the example Coenzyme Q 10. It anyone who takes a statin drug, the statin drug is absolutely known to lower this level of what we call Coenzyme Q 10. Guess what happens to the body when the Coenzyme Q 10 is low? The heart gets weak. Hmm. We’re giving statin drugs to supposedly help the cardiovascular system, but yet, we’re going to create a deficiency but we’re not going to tell the patient. Our industry has sued the FDA on numerous occasions to have a warning on the box of statin drugs that says if you’re taking a statin please consider a coenzyme Q 10. lost every time in court. Why is that? I’m not gonna answer the question. But it’s not fair to the public that they’re not getting this information, we can share and uh, you know, I share a very vocal, and I’m very passionate. But our circles still small. If we want to reach the big public, we need some cooperation between the powers that be and luckily, some physicians are verbally telling their patients but it’s not on the literature. And there’s so many of these examples of nutrients that came to the surface. That then some of these were, I won’t say stolen, but then they were taken by pharmaceutical companies, and then put into their prescription pads at five to 10 times the cost. But so the trend is kind of all moving positive, but we have to tweak it. And I gotta I want it to go the right way, not in the ditches.
Brian Strickland 16:54
Absolutely. So we’ll wrap it up here in just a minute. But lastly, let’s talk about nutrition world as a store, because that is a very unique part of who you are and what we do. As a company. Obviously, there have been many changes that have occurred, not only locations, but even the way that we do business, what’s become popular. So as you look at our current business, and look towards the future, what are some of the things that you would like to see nutrition world as a company move towards?
Ed Jones 17:28
Well, we are growing, thank goodness, we had a wonderful year. COVID has been a curse and a blessing for many people. But in our industry, it has awakened, so many who are treading water, they knew that health diet supplements are important. And I’m going to do it tomorrow. Well, now they’ve seen the devastation of what happens if you’re low in vitamin D, you’re overweight, you’ve got this, you’ve got that we now know that we are sitting ducks, not just because of this one thing coming around, it was just a matter of time that we’re sitting ducks for something if we don’t have this pharmacy within and and we access that when we need it. And so the future to me is very bright. As long as we’re not overly regulated. I don’t think we will be the grassroots effort for this is amazingly strong. I so I’m very have great promise, I think the practitioners are growing, where, and I say this often we all need a team approach to Aging Gracefully. And I don’t care when I say aging, I’m talking 25 years old and up, which means your regular practitioner, that you have a UTI, you have an ankle sprain, you have a diagnosis you don’t know about you go to them. They’re great. That’s what they do. That’s what they’re trained for. But you need other team members to help support healing. If you think you’re going to get healing at a regular traditional insurance based doctor office, it’s not gonna happen. It’s just not and that’s okay. But what’s what’s not okay is that we need to have people who realize that and just build that little bit more of a, of a of a pod of people that you trust you have experienced you don’t wait till you’re sick to do this. You do it before you get relationships. I went ahead of massage this morning. You know, I have my my chiropractor, I have my acupuncturist I have, I have the people that I may not say for a whole year, but if I need them, they’re there. So I encourage people to build this relationship, not only with practitioners, but with a local store who can help you with answers in the right choices of products, whether it be nutrition, pet food, cosmetics, you know, foods of all kind, because keto diets, I mean, you name it, it takes some expertise to know how to journey down that path. And we’re 27 employees at this point. And the fact that we’ve I’ve made this business a career business for people is not a work this year and go move on. We have people who are extremely expertise in regard to how they can talk and how they can express themselves.
Brian Strickland 20:01
Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah. And I mean, that’s, that’s really at the core of what we do and what we believe it’s a holistic approach to health. It’s not any single one thing that is going to make you healthy. Because we’re complex beings, we have mental health issues, we have physical health issues, you know, we there, there are all sorts of things that we can benefit from when it comes to that holistic approach. So that’s really encouraging to hear. Well, I think that will do it. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. I really appreciate you taking the time. And you will be back we’ve got plenty more to come, that we’re really looking forward to. So thank you.
Ed Jones 20:39
And yes, the stuff coming up is again, going back to and I feel like I believe you certainly agree, empowering people, empowering people in whatever method possible without the agenda of selling his agenda of education. And that is the key because we have to these are complex little vehicles here. And you wouldn’t get a brand new camera or a bicycle. I just bought an electric bicycle. I mean, everything requires looking in and figuring it out. But nothing’s quite as complex as this big idea of foods and exercise and nutrients and sleep and, and we need help us along this way. Life’s always giving us a test. And and we need to show up for that test every day. And that showing up alone is half the battle. And then you find the right people. You’ve got it. You’ve got it conquered when you can do that.
Brian Strickland 21:31
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thanks, Ed. We’ll be back soon.