By Marsha Bonecutter
As many of us know, living through a painful experience can often make us a changed person. At age 34, Connie Ciekanski, owner of Dover Healthy Alternatives in Dover, Ohio, found her life altered forever, when she attempted to help a friend who was dying of cancer. “She was diagnosed with cancer at age 38,” explained Connie. “She went through several months of treatments. She had a five year old son. She was slowly losing her life. I felt so bad for her situation, so I went and listened to an herbalist speak, hoping to find something to help her. Sadly, it was too late and I wasn’t able to.”
Listening to the herbalist and the passing of her friend acted as a catalyst that ultimately led Connie to change her own health for the better. “I started by doing herbal cleansing,” said Connie. “I joined a multi-level company, bought a MRM (muscle response monitor), went to Michigan for training and certification and completely loved every minute of what I was doing.”
In September of 2000, Connie went into a health food store in downtown Dover and asked the owner if he wanted to sell his store—he said yes! “I really wasn’t thinking he would say yes,” laughed Connie, “I was so excited about owning my own store that I never feared failure. Our anniversary is September 1st.”
It has been an eventful 11 years for Dover Healthy Alternatives and for Connie and her family. The first location on Third Street in downtown Dover was a 1,000 square foot store which only accommodated the booming business for 6 months. Connie moved across the street to a location that was double the size and had a basement for meetings. The store flourished there for two years. Fortune smiled again when the former Goshen Dairy store at 320 North Wooster Avenue, Dover, became available. “My husband, Bob, took off work and we went to look at this building,” Connie recalled. “The whole time I told myself I was just curious to see it—there was no way I could move there. As soon as I saw the inside, I knew it had to be the next Dover Healthy Alternatives location.”
The former dairy had sinks available where Connie planned to make and serve smoothies. “The owner was kind and worked with me and gave me time to grow my business. My husband was always there to remodel, paint, do floors and help me move. I loved what I was doing and never once thought: what if?”
Though Connie was not able to help her friend, she and her knowledgeable staff have helped countless others in Dover and the surrounding communities for the past 11 years. “I love helping people feel better. It’s very rewarding to have customers that come in and thank you because they feel better. I want this to be a complete health food store, and I try hard to make it comfortable so people will want to come back.”
Stop in to Dover Healthy Alternatives and try a delicious smoothie along with a sandwich and soup. They have a complete line of whole food vitamins and a wonderful line of mineral makeup products...minus the toxins, of course!
Congratulations, Connie and staff...we wish you much continued success.