Life in Balance.

YOUR BUSINESS STARTS HERE  |  CASE STUDY with Chelsea Huber of The Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe and Healthcare Clinic   

photo of Chelsea of The Golden Mean  

Downtown Kitchener’s The Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe and Healthcare Clinic helps consumers take a holistic view to health and well-being. 

Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that the secret to a well-lived life is moderation: finding a place between extremes he called the “Golden Mean.” Turning this ancient philosophy into contemporary business inspiration, Chelsea Huber and her staff at Downtown Kitchener’s Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe and Healthcare Clinic are seeking to help their customers strike a healthy balance in their everyday lives. 


The Golden Mean initially began as an eCommerce venture. Chelsea, a nutritionist by training, had grown weary of clinical practice and was looking for a better way to educate and help people live healthier lives. Living in Toronto at the time, the Waterloo Region native began selling natural beauty products online. She found herself providing a lot of nutritional advice at the same time, talking to people about how nutrition affects the skin. 


Using education to inform natural product and supplement decisions both stimulated and inspired Chelsea to consider opening a physical retail location. Around the same time, she and her husband took a trip back to Kitchener-Waterloo - Chelsea’s hometown - at her father’s urging. They were blown away by the change they saw within the Downtown Kitchener core. 


“I was initially planning to open my retail location in Toronto,” Chelsea confesses. “But my dad kept bugging me to come back home to open up a shop. On our first trip back our reaction was “wow.” We saw such a transformation in the city that we remembered from our youth. We began looking at homes and different buildings that day, and landed both a house and business location within the same week.”  


The Golden Mean Wellness Shoppe and Healthcare Clinic operates out of 1‚800 square feet at 150 King Street West. The shop devotes 50 percent of its space to retail products, such as nutritional supplements, natural skin care and the shop’s biggest seller, S’well water bottles. The other 50 percent of the space is devoted to clinical treatment. True to her mission to educate her customers and help them achieve a healthy balance, Chelsea has partnered with an array of clinicians including a naturopath, a holistic nutritionist, a registered massage therapist, as well as yoga and reiki masters who provide complementary services and a whole-body approach to self-care.  


“Our clinical services are a big component of The Golden Mean,” says Chelsea. “It allows us to provide our customers with the professional assistance they need to see more impact. We have people who walk in the store with a long list of supplements, determined to buy. And we’ll actually talk them out of it and convince them to see a professional first to get the most benefit.”


Like most young, growing businesses, Chelsea recognizes the importance of consistently marketing her brand. Clinical partners operate independently, but revenue share with The Golden Mean, which provides them with marketing and administrative support.


“There’s no single marketing strategy for business. We’ve used a lot of trial and error to get our tactics right,” says Chelsea. Currently, The Golden Mean uses Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google adwords to bring people to the shop. However, hands down, the store’s top demand generator is word of mouth and referrals.  


“Creating a great customer experience is the very best marketing we can do," says Chelsea. “When people have a good experience, they’ll typically always send us a referral. If you refer three friends to our services, you get a free treatment and Golden Mean loyalty points. We also reward people for purchasing in-store and from our beverage bar.” 


Chelsea has also found it very helpful to solicit reviews on the store’s website. She wants to know what people think of their experience, the services and what products they like and don’t like. “Feedback is really important to us and keeps making us better,” says Chelsea. Customers also earn Golden Mean loyalty points for online reviews. 


To extend her reach, Chelsea is partnering with local tech companies to bring her services into their organizations. Recently, the clinic’s naturopath held a seminar at Vidyard which drew more than 80 people. Golden Mean staff also participated in a Heart Health Breakfast at Kitchener's City Hall, mixing and mingling and handing out samples to city employees.


One really smart strategy Chelsea and her team have employed is benefits planning. “So many people working in the downtown core have benefits, but either don’t know how to use them, or leave them unused until the end of the year,” says Chelsea. “In our initial consultation with a client, we look at their available benefits and put a plan in place to maximize them while driving full value. We want people to use the resources available to them to live their best possible lives.” 


She can’t hide her enthusiasm and optimism for Downtown Kitchener. “We have new condo developments planned. We’re seeing beautification projects underway. The LRT is happening. And we have this continuously growing tech sector. As a business owner and resident of the community, it is very exciting to see. I suspect in two years, it will be a different place yet again. With gentrification, the risk is that it all becomes too polished. But we seem to be very good at remembering where we came from and at honouring our arts community and our historic culture.” 


From humble beginnings online, The Golden Mean has prospered into a thriving retail shop with more than 900 products and extensive services. Chelsea plans to maintain her retail presence as the central hub for foot traffic and delivery, while in the future expanding the clinical side of her business. She’s also recently brought on a new business partner, a local police officer, who began as a customer but is now a shareholder in the business. 


She has no regrets about her move out of Toronto and into Downtown Kitchener. “I just love Downtown Kitchener. It’s been such a good experience being down here. I’ve never lived in a city that has been so community-oriented. There are so many spaces to gather. There’s so much uniqueness here. It’s a gritty, diverse, urban space where everyone feels comfortable. I’m constantly running into other business owners and clients. When we first opened, people made a point of saying they would come to support us, because they wanted our business to thrive. There’s a real desire to see the core grow.” 


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 Chelsea’s advice to other small business owners:  “Focus on creating an exceptional customer experience. Referrals and word of mouth can be your most valuable marketing asset.”