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New Store Offers Non-Gluten Noshes

Healthy Heart Vitamins & Health Food offers many products, but gluten isn't in any of them.

If you’re a glutton for gluten, you’re out of luck at Los Angeles Avenue’s newest store. As the name suggests, at Healing Heart Vitamins & Health Food, you’ll find vitamins. You’ll also find pasta, flour—and even cookies—but you won’t find anything with gluten.

As a representative for various health product manufacturers, Tawny Lovett was spending a large portion of her life in her car, driving from store to store and realized instead of delivering to others’ establishments, she could draw on her knowledge and passion for healthy living and open her own store.

“I thought, ‘If they can do it, I can too,’ ” she said.

In mid-March, she found a location next to in the Albertson’s shopping center and began working like mad to prepare for her June 1 opening. She purchased much of her equipment from other stores, including a Thousand Oaks gluten-free food shop that was going out of business, and pulled all-nighters to get ready.

“If you’ve seen Project Runway, it was like that; crazy long hours,” she said. “I was e-mailing vendors at midnight.”

The hard work has paid off because the store is in order and, so far, the response has been good.

Knowing everything in the store is gluten-free, shoppers who have an intolerance or allergy to gluten don’t have to spend time reading labels for each and every item.

“It’s wonderful for me,” said shopper Maureen Kajiwara of Moorpark, whose children have intolerances for various foods. Now, she said, she won’t have to drive all over the county to do her shopping because the items she needs can be found in one spot.

“If it’s a quicky, my whole life is easier. I was so happy to find it,” she said.

While at the store, Kajiwara even requested some bread items Lovett isn’t yet carrying, though plans to by the end of June.

Gluten-free wasn’t necessarily going to be the theme for Lovett’s store when she first decided to start a health food shop, but attending a conference about celiac disease opened her eyes to the plight of the 1 in 133 Americans who suffer from the genetic gluten-intolerance disorder.

That’s when she decided to make shopping easier for them by having a place where gluten simply isn’t allowed. She also tries to avoid artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners and other additives in the products she carries, which include personal care items, cleaning products, items for babies and young children and her own Healing Heart line of vitamins and other supplements.

Healing Heart is at 549 West Los Angeles Ave. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and closed Sundays.

HAIRCUT PLACE Sue FitzGerald June 22, 2011 at 05:26 PM
They also have some pet items!! Tawny is so knowledgeable and easy to talk to. I love having her right next door. Tell your friends ~ they will be happy to know she's there too.
Tawny Lovett June 22, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Thanks Sue! I have free samples right now of dog treats and dog wash! I have free samples of vitamins for humans, too!
Steve Carlson June 22, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Tawny is great with the product in her store. She knows her stuff! A great alternative to the same ol' same ol' in the local supermarkets. And Healing Heart is right next to Albertson's!
Jackie Spencer June 28, 2011 at 04:56 PM
I hate taking vitamins. Although I am vegetarian my diet is not optimal, to say the least. Matt and Tawny turned me on to Alive! a vanilla flavored whole food energy shake mix. It made a trememdous improvement in my energy throughout the day. I am thoroughly addicted to my morning smoothie (orange juice, ice, frozen banana, Alive!)
Tawny Lovett June 28, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Awesome Jackie! I'm so glad you like it and it has made a difference, that's what it's all about! I will be sure to keep that in stock for you!

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