Living Green offers education for healthy choices

Living Green Health Food and Apothecary in Langley has been in constant evolution since its inception seven years ago.

Nutritional supplements, fresh smoothies and herbs and spices are just a few of the items carried by the store.

But according to owner Cheryl “Cherub” Mackner, people go to Living Green for more than just the products.

She said: “A lot of people come in for the feel good effect of when you are in a positive, healing, healthy space.”

Mackner knows many of her customers by name.

Kate Hamre is one of them. She moved to South Whidbey last June and stumbled upon the store one day. She’s been a regular customer ever since.

“This place gave me support when I needed it most,” Hamre said.

Karen Epifano is known as an “original greener.” She’s been going to Living Green since it first opened and is now an employee.

“The store holds a very important piece of health in the community because it has the aspect of nutrition and healthy food choices,” she said. “And the consciousness of love.”

Mackner has a strong background in health education and is currently studying to be a naturopathic doctor.

“I’m not doing it to start a practice, but to have more education under my belt,” she said.

Mackner offers free health consultations to her customers.

“A lot of people come in with problems or situations of imbalance but they also come in for solutions,” Mackner said.

She said it is important to let people know about their choices and empower them through education.

“In the end it changes the way they feel mentally, physically and spiritually,” she said.

Living Green has been a source for political change. There are often opportunities for petitioning at the store, and Mackner and her customers have mobilized into action for both local and global issues.

“I feel like if everyone gets touched in a way that they can go out and make a difference, then that choice or change does affect the whole,” she said.

Mackner said she has never made her business a capitalistic journey.

“I probably should get more into that,” she said. “But because I’m committed to change on the planet I’ve used it as a platform for education.”

The business has flourished even without a focus on profit. Living green almost tripled their space when they moved locations 2 years ago.

“We totally remodeled,” she said, “We put in the kitchen, the floors, the custom painting and murals.” She said that when people come in to Living Green, they often comment on the look and feel.

“We also have a strong connection with children here,” Mackner said.

The store has a play area specifically designed for children so mothers can feel comfortable while they shop, knowing that their kids are somewhere safe. Mackner deemed the play area “Bapu Land,” which translates to “Grandfather Land.”

She said: “That was a tribute to my dad who really helped out with everything here.”

The future holds big plans for Living Green.

Educational classes, taught by Mackner and other health educators, will continue to be held.

“It’s basically education that people pay extra money for, but they get really amazing results,” she said.

Mackner’s boyfriend, Denis Zimmermann, will have a multi-disciplinary design studio in the back of Living Green starting in late October. The studio will feature graphic design, photography and fine art, and will be available to Living Green customers.

“The business’ will really compliment each other,” Mackner said.

Mackner plans to expand Living Greens food menu, and Zimmermann is helping with its’ design. The menu currently offering wraps, rice, breads, salads and raw foods will soon offer baked food items, as well.

And an espresso and tea apothecary will be an addition to the fresh smoothie drinks offered.

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