Five Questions For Emily Kaster, Linden Hills Health & Body Care Manager

Q: How did you get your start at Linden Hills, and how has the Wellness department evolved over the years?

A: I started at Linden Hills Co-op in the summer of 1997, right out of high school. I’ll never forget the day I biked over the hill from the lake and saw the Linden Hills village and the co-op! I applied for a job that day.

After traveling and spending time in Vermont, I returned to the coop in 2007 to work in Grocery and became the Refrigerated Grocery Buyer. Shortly after, we moved to the current location and I got the job of my dreams—the Wellness Manager!

Since I have been the Wellness Manager, we have grown this department in many ways. Our staff continuously deepens their knowledge of our ever-growing and changing inventory and works hard to find the safest, most trusted products. We actively seek out unique and local items that are fit for the community we serve.

Our recent consolidation with the Wedge has allowed us to get better prices with increased volume. I’m excited to work with an awesome group of seasoned Wellness staff at the Wedge to make our department better than ever!

Q: What makes shopping for vitamins, supplements and personal care products different at a co-op?

A: At the co-op, our Wellness staff is encouraged to spend time with our customers so that we can help find what products are best for them. All of our products are safe and sourced from companies our customers can feel good about. We have strong relationships with our producers and products in order to ensure that we offer the absolute best. The personal connection to the products, staff, and customers is what makes shopping different at the co-op. We are truly here for the community and strive to make ours a healthier place!

Q: Linden Hills is known for it’s Natural Home department. What makes it so special?

A: When we were at the old location, we had the Linden Hills Natural Home Store across the street. We didn’t want to lose that when we moved, so we made a commitment to keep a great selection and space dedicated to these items in our store. We have wonderful gifts, reusable containers, clothing, kitchenware, and so much more!

Our Wellness staff is always on the lookout for new items to add to our seasonal selection while continuing to stock the staples that make our Natural Home shelves a destination for many shoppers. Next time you shop, keep an eye out for Shannon, one of our Natural Home buyers, who has been with us since the original Natural Home Store!

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: Here’s where I get cheesy! Coworkers make fun of me all of the time for how excited I get about the products and the people that make our store great. The most rewarding part of my job is feeling truly valued at my work place and that I can make a difference in both the lives of people I have known for 20-plus years and someone coming in for the first time.

I have been a part of the community for so long that I have seen kids become adults, and watched families grow and change. I have truly connected with entire families along the way and made lifelong friends.  It is such a gift to be able to work with Wellness staff that have been at the co-op for years and care more every day about the success of our department and being there for each other and the customer. I honestly think to myself, “How did I get so lucky?”

Q: What is something most customers don’t know about you?

A: One funny story I like to tell is from when I was in my early 20s. I was trying to save money to travel, so I lived in my Volkswagen bus in the co-op parking lot! My manager didn’t mind since they always knew I’d be there for my opening shift. I am also a certified yoga teacher and teach at CorePower in St. Louis Park. I love how well it complements my full-time job as the Wellness Manager. I am so lucky to work for two amazing businesses in the community!

Q: What is your favorite product at the co-op?

A: This is such a difficult question for me! Ninety-five percent of my purchases are either from Linden Hills Co-op or the Wedge, so picking out my favorite product is nearly impossible! There are a few things I couldn’t live without: Veriditas (roll-on) deodorant, Suki Nourishing Day Cream, my Jade yoga mat, Manduka yoga mat towel, and Sea Salt Zum Mist. I also use Garden of Life Perfect Food Greens every day in my smoothies. I can’t start my morning without a smoothie packed with produce, Perfect Food, and plant-based protein.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS POP-UPS AND SALES

Andalou Naturals Pop-Up Sale
30% off entire line – Body lotions and shower gels $2/10
At Linden Hills Co-op only
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 from 12 – 5 p.m.

Evan Healy Pop-Up Sale
30% off entire line
At Linden Hills Co-op only
Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 from 12 – 5 p.m.

Acure Pop-Up Sale
30% off entire line
At Linden Hills Co-op only
Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Longfellow Soap Pop-Up Sale
30% off cedar, lavender, pine, lemongrass, honeysuckle, and patchouli scents
At Wedge Co-op only
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2017 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


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