On a Healthy Journey
The company’s beginnings: After Greg Cooper left for college, his father, Hal, bought a health food store, Arizona Health Foods, in their hometown of Phoenix. After numerous phone conversations regarding the business’s future, Greg left school to help his father open more stores.
Arizona Health Foods catalog, which sell dietary foods and supplements, started out of necessity, explains Cooper. Soon after the third store opened, major road construction — slated to last two years — virtually shut down store business. “I had to find a way to sell goods,” he notes. He tested the direct marketing channel by first running a small ad in an industry magazine; he developed a catalog after that. “I wouldn’t spend the money on a catalog unless I knew I had customers.”
He admits the first mailing took a while to develop. “Fortunately, our customers were patient.”
Education: Cooper studied behavioral sciences at the University of San Diego.
Company goals: “To help build a company that positively affects our community, whether you’re an employee or a customer.”
Role model: Says Cooper, “My father has been my primary role model — a man of high integrity and morals. He’s smart but humble.”
Business challenge: When his father became ill a few years ago, Cooper realized he was going to need assistance with the business. “Maintaining growth through these periods was a challenge,” he admits. “But my biggest challenge was finding the right company to which to pass the torch.”
Last July, Arizona Health Foods was acquired by Nutraceutical International. Cooper remains on board as vice president and general manager, and his father still gives valuable input.
Favorite catalogs: “I always grab Swell.com and read it cover to cover,” says Cooper. Other favorites include: JC Whitney, Orvis and Smith & Hawken.
Other interests: “I think I surprised everyone at a company party a few years ago when I began to play the guitar,” Cooper says with a laugh. He’s also an avid surfer who enjoys frequent trips to the West Coast, and he coaches youth leagues.