Market enters new era with change in ownership

Erin Roush not only believes in the benefit of natural products but wants to help others see how they can help transform their lives. And as the new owner of FreshLife, a natural products supermarket at 2300 E. Third St., Williamsport, she hopes to continue to bring that message to her customers.

“Our goal is to create a positive retail experience,” she said.

Roush became owner of FreshLife this month after spending recent years as the store’s wellness coach supervisor. She feels she has an important role to fill as successor to Barb Jarmoska, who started FreshLife and owned the store for many years.

“I have big shoes to fill,” she said.

Roush said she plans no significant changes to the operation. The natural product industry, she noted, is constantly evolving, and any changes would be in the way of improvements.

“Inventory will remain the same,” she said.

That means organic produce, local humanely raised meat and poultry, fresh and healthy food from the kitchen, as well as the store’s offerings of natural supplements, natural beauty products, and books. Over the years, she noted, the store has built up a steady and faithful customer base, and she hopes to hear from patrons about what they’d like to see from the store.

Customer service, she said, has been a big part of FreshLife’s philosophy for years. Many people who come to the store looking to change diets or live healthier have no idea where to start.

The amount of time taken with customers, Roush said, is what sets the store apart. After all, the plethora of information the average person considers regarding everything from high cholesterol to emotional problems can be overwhelming.

That’s why the individual customer service is so important.

“No size fits all,” Roush said. “I want to have the opportunity to engage that customer.”

Knowledgeable and competent employees are an invaluable part of the operations.

Chef Dani Arthur prepares many of the healthy salads, sandwiches, soups, and entrees sold out of the stores deli section.

“She brings years of culinary experience and uses it to serve customers,” Roush said.

Many customers, she explained, will come into the store with an idea of what they are looking for but leave with the experience of interacting with knowledgeable staff who really care about their well-being.

Roush said she didn’t spend years dreaming about owning her own business. From working at the store and dealing with customers and seeing her own personal passion for healthy living growing stronger, her decision to become a business owner evolved.

And FreshLife was the perfect fit for her. She referred to the store’s slogan of embracing your best health.

“I want the work I do to matter,” she said.

She conceded it’s a big step but is excited about the upcoming challenges and opportunities. Continuing education will remain part of the business and she expects to offer consumer seminars. Roush also is considering the idea of offering a lending library of books from the store.