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Hearth & Home December 2019

Wealth Depends on Health

By Mark Brock

Illustrations: ©2019 A.E. Brown.

You take good care of your business, but are you taking good care of yourself?

Owners and managers of specialty retail companies are, first and foremost, focused on taking care of the business – growing revenues, enhancing profits, and providing customers with quality products and exemplary service. It’s demanding work that requires a total commitment that can come at a cost – the wellbeing of those taking care of the business.

The irony of placing the health of the business over personal wellbeing is that healthier owners and managers have greatly improved odds of creating successful businesses. The clear-headed thinking and increased energy that come with a healthy mind and body can be one of the most important factors for ensuring success.

“The health of any business is tied to the health of the bodies and the minds of the owners and managers,” said Peggy Hall, a nationally recognized authority on wellness and weight loss. “It’s essential to realize that taking time for yourself is not selfish – it’s actually ‘self-less’ in that you need to take time to restore your energy, replenish your creative ideas, and refresh your mind on activities outside of business.

“Running yourself ragged is only going to hurt your business performance,” she continued. “Gone are the days that saying ‘I’m busy’ is a badge of honor. Wealth depends on health. A healthy business owner or manager will have the physical energy, mental faculty, and emotional well-being needed to weather the stormy seas of business.”

We recently reached out to Hall, other wellness experts, and specialty retailers to gain insights into the essentials for ensuring an enhanced state of wellness and a more successful business. Here are 12 essentials that we gleaned from those conversations.

Know That You Are What You Eat

Food and beverage are the fuels for the human machine and if you want high-octane performance you have to use high-octane fuels. Who doesn’t know that you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and that you should avoid processed and fast foods and sugary sodas?

Portion control is also essential to weight management as metabolisms slow with age, meaning that the same number of calories at age 20 won’t be ideal at age 50 and older. Also part of these recommendations are guidelines for alcohol consumption, with no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women, for those who imbibe at all.

“Good nutrition is fundamental to health in general, and it spills over into all parts of life, not just physical but also mental and emotional. With good nutrition, you feel better and you’re in a stronger position to deal with stress. For anyone who wonders what they should be eating, I suggest they just go to the produce section of their grocery store and look around.

“In terms of portion control, I suggest people look at their dinner plate and allocate half to non-starchy vegetables, one quarter to a good starch such as sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread or brown rice, and one quarter to a lean protein. It’s a pretty easy approach to ensure you are eating a healthy meal.”

– Ethan Dixon, MPH, RD, LD, wellness dietitian and home chef, Houston, Texas

Keep Your Body Hydrated

Closely associated with good diets is the need for good hydration. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re probably dehydrated. Taking in copious amounts of water throughout the day, particularly in brutal summer heat, is a great idea. Dehydration leads to fatigue, poor digestion, and lack of energy. An age-old recommendation is eight glasses of water per day, which may be more than enough, but you get the idea.

“Research shows on average people are not consuming enough water. It’s just something that many people are not good at. Good hydration can drastically affect the way you feel, your quality of sleep, and make you more mentally alert; there is a whole cascade of positive effects. Another good thing about hydration is if you drink enough water you can avoid sugary drinks that contribute to weight gain. Water is the best hydration, and it’s free.”

– Ethan Dixon, MPH, RD, LD, wellness dietitian and home chef, Houston, Texas

Exercise on a Regular Basis

If you’re like many specialty retailers you probably think you get plenty of exercise working on the showroom floor, in the warehouse, or at customer locations. Any activity that gets you out of a chair and moving around is a good thing, but for exercise to contribute to a healthier you – physically and mentally – it should be aerobic – get you breathing more and your heart rate up. When it comes to exercise, consistency is as important as intensity. A 30-minute walk three days a week is a good goal, if your doctor approves. When you go on a walk, leave the smartphone at home.

“My wife and I ran together when we were dating, and we continue to enjoy running several times a week. I’m not hard-core about it; I don’t do marathons, but if I miss a day of running, it has an effect on me. I’m also in the weight room a few times a week and have been since high school. Exercise is really therapeutic for me, it clears my mind and it helps me make better decisions.”

– Jon Chapman, CEO, Rich’s for the Home, Seattle, Washington

Address Medical Needs

When was the last time you had a check-up? Do you have a relationship with a primary care provider who is tracking your health as you age? Do you have any medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, that require on-going management? No one likes going to the doctor, but addressing medical needs ongoing and early can avoid more serious and more expensive intervention later on. Avoid the 3Ds of addressing medical needs – delay, denial, and distraction.

“If you have a chronic medical condition, don’t put off getting care ‘until things slow down.’ See your doctor when you’re due, get tested on schedule, and set up a medication reminder system that works. Annual physicals are definitely a good idea because they can detect issues in the early stages before they become real problems. Prostate screening for men and mammograms for women should be done as we get older.”

– Teri Dreher, RN, CCRN, iRNPA, Board Certified Patient Advocate, Owner/CEO, NShore Patient Advocates, Chicago, Illinois

Disconnect From Electronics

Smartphones and laptops are wonderful devices for helping to manage a business, but they are also a threat to your wellbeing. It takes real discipline to turn off that phone at the end of the day, while exercising or while on vacation, but you’ll be better off for it. It’s all about setting limits of when you will be available; you may be surprised that you can get back to a needy employee or a pesky customer at a later hour and no one is worse for wear.

“I know how hard it is to be pulled in a million directions with the demands of running a business, but over the last five years I’ve been able to develop intentional habits that have made my work a joy and been a blessing to my family and my health as well. Technology offers so many benefits for a business, allowing us to accomplish more and to be more effective. But when I’m engaged in family time, I make it a point to stay disconnected from electronic devices.”

– Tim Reed, Retail Team Leader, Fireside Home Solutions, Portland, Oregon

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

It seems that a great number of Americans suffer from insomnia these days, and that’s a bad thing. Lack of sleep has been associated with a number of physical and emotional ailments. If you have a serious sleep deficit, you may want to check in with a sleep specialist. But first review your sleep hygiene and see if you can get more and better shut eye. No caffeine or alcohol a few hours before bedtime. Go to bed and rise each day at the same time, even on days off. Limit bedroom activities to sleep and intimate relationships.

“It’s important to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up relatively early, and stick to this routine. Some studies correlate waking up early with success. Lack of sleep creates lack of focus, and if you get drowsy every day at 3pm, your body is telling you something. Sleep is like water and exercise, and you should be very intentional about it.”

– Teri Dreher, RN, CCRN, iRNPA, Board Certified Patient Advocate, Owner/CEO, NShore Patient Advocates, Chicago, Illinois

Have Some Fun with Work

Work is work and fun is fun, but the twain can meet. There’s no reason that work has to be completely serious all the time. A fun outing with your employees or a creative promotional event is good for business and good for you. It’s tough not to take things seriously all the time, and no one says you have to be the life of the party every day, but taking a step back to laugh at yourself and the absurdity of life might be well worth the effort.

“I do have fun with the business because if you enjoy what you do you never work a day in your life. I have always thought of our business like a car – my foot is on the accelerator and my wife (Diane) has her foot on the brake, and we both have our hands on the steering wheel so we have to negotiate where we’re going to steer this thing.”

– John Bassemier, Founder and Chairman, Bassemier’s Fireplace, Patio and Spas, Evansville, Indiana

Connect With Positive People

We often think of peer pressure as affecting young people, but in fact, those with whom we associate affect us throughout our entire lives. For a healthier life, seek out people – both at work and outside of work – who have a positive outlook, offer creative thinking, and effective problem solving. These are people you might want to hire and people you want to regularly seek out for a coffee break or lunch to share ideas and get recharged. It’s another commitment in time, but well worth the battery boost we get from being around people who see life as a series of problem-solving events that they relish taking on.

“When we are anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed, we often seek to isolate ourselves when the reality is that being in community with others is the antidote to those feelings. Networking with like-minded people, even from different industries, can be a lifesaver when you realize you’re not in it alone. Outside interests are also essential for refreshment, a new outlook, and excitement to go back to work with ideas gleaned from outside your industry.

“Finally, smart business owners get help in their business, so why not seek expert assistance in your life? Life coaches can help you identify areas where you feel stuck and assist you in creating concrete steps for moving forward.”

– Peggy Hall, nationally recognized wellness and weight loss expert, author and speaker, Aliso Viejo, California

Get Involved with Your Community

There are many benefits to your health and to your business from being involved with organizations and activities outside of work. Taking time away from the business to volunteer can be a source of exercise, while creating a sense of satisfaction that comes from helping others. Not coincidentally, forming relationships in the community can also translate into new customers.

“Raising our two girls kept my husband, Steve, and me active and also got us involved in the community. The girls wanted to play soccer and Steve got involved as a referee, and they also got into skiing, that led us to volunteer for the ski patrol. Sailing, skiing, soccer – we made time for these things because we wanted these experiences for our girls and we found time after work. Getting involved in the community was just another benefit for us, for our girls, and for the business.”

– Karin Pierce, co-owner Stove & Fireplace Works, Ashland, Wisconsin

Hire the Right People

The single most important step toward a healthier owner or manager is hiring the right people. When you select associates who fit into your company’s culture and who are dedicated to your success, you have just taken a giant step toward a healthier life.

These types of employees can assume increasingly responsible roles, relieving their employers of work-related stress and opening up opportunities to take time away from the business for exercise, vacation, relaxation, and creative thinking. Of course, it’s a two-way street, and owners and managers must not only select the right people but provide them with competitive pay and benefits, and offer authority to make decisions as they gain knowledge and experience.

“When my husband and I first started the business it was just the two of us, which made it tough to get away. As we grew the business we were able to add employees that allowed us more flexibility in taking time off. It’s a challenge to find just the right people because you have to have people who can work in the field for installations, and people who can work with customers in the showroom.

“This (hearth) is a highly technical field and it’s not something you can learn in a year. The best advice I heard concerning hiring was the idea that you should hire people who have the potential to start a business that could compete with you. Those are the people who can be really valuable to your company.”

– Karin Pierce, co-owner Stove & Fireplace Works, Ashland, Wisconsin

Find Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress is built into the human DNA, starting with cave dwellers who had to escape large hairy animals. With wooly mammoths now extinct, stress comes at us from all directions at home, at work, and even in traffic. It’s essential to find ways to manage stress, to release the pressure valve, whether through exercise, meditation, or prayer – just some time reserved to get away from it all and breathe deeply.

“Running a small business is very stressful at times and you have to find a release, a way to put that stress aside. When I go for a bike ride of 80 or 100 kilometers, all I think about is my bike and the wheel of the bike ahead of me. When I get home, all of the stress that I’ve been feeling at work has left me. Riding a bike is a great stress release in addition to the physical benefits.”

– Bill Harvie, co-owner, Valley Stove & Cycle, Kentville, Nova Scotia

Establish Work-life Harmony

One of the common prescripts for a healthier life is to create work-life balance. It’s as if you can draw a line in the sand with your work on one side and your personal life on the other. In reality, your work life and your personal life are inextricably intertwined, and rather than thinking of balance between the two, perhaps you should think of creating harmony.

“Work-life harmony can be different for everyone. For me, I take a step back and consider what my goals are for the business and what my goals are for my family, and how I can structure my calendar to harmonize all those priorities.

“I want to be the best dad possible for my kids, and I want to be an effective leader for our teams at work. Achieving those goals actually overlap and I find that the experiences in one area carry over into the other. When you think in terms of work-life balance you set yourself up with competing priorities. When you think of work-life harmony, you have a better chance to be successful at both.”

– Tim Reed, Retail Team Leader, Fireside Home Solutions, Portland, Oregon

Profiles in Wellness

We reached out to wellness experts, specialty retailers, small business owners, and managers for their perspectives on the topic of wellness. The following are their stories:

Why Climb Every Mountain? There Is a Very Good Answer

As a high school student, Bob Ferrari is the first to admit he was a disaster, but all of that changed at summer camp. At the age of 16, he discovered rock climbing and so began a lifetime pursuit of mountain climbing that has contributed to a fulfilling life and successful businesses – White Glove Chimney and Duct, and White Glove’s House of Fire of Redding and Chico, California. The company traces its roots to 1977.

Because of his business success, Ferrari has been able to pursue his other great passions in life – international travel and mountain climbing. He and his wife, Marina, have traveled in Russia, Central Asia, Georgia in Eastern Europe, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, England, and Scotland. While sightseeing has been a big part of these trips, it’s also been about mountain climbing.

Ferrari has scaled peaks in Central Asia, Alaska, the Alps, Turkey, and Georgia. He has climbed Mount Shasta, which is near his home, more than 40 times in all seasons, and he’s working on organizing a climbing expedition in 2020 for mount Aconcagua, which is located in Argentina with the highest elevation in the southern and western hemispheres.

Mountain climbing, along with other activities such as skiing and mountain biking, have kept Ferrari fit at the age of 68. He concedes there is no good answer for why someone would want to climb a mountain other than feeding a desire for new and challenging experiences.

“We have an exercise that we sponsor with our employees each year in which everyone describes their perfect life,” he said. “It’s a hard exercise, but it really helped me focus on what I really want to do, which is to have a successful business that allows me to travel and climb mountains.”

Ferrari finds there are many aspects of mountain climbing that make him a better business owner.

“When you’re climbing a mountain, just like in business, there is an intense determination about it and you don’t want to make any mistakes. You are on a rope line with other people, so everyone is in it together, and you have this sense of community. We all depend on each other for survival. You’ve got to be smart and you’ve got to know that, perhaps, you can’t make the summit today, but there’s always another day.”

Ferrari is a firm believer that fitness comes with following your passion, and staying active is essential for success in business.

“If you’re not healthy, if you aren’t fit, your business will suffer. We want all of our people at White Glove to have a sense of wellbeing, and that carries over into how we serve our customers. Our focus is on providing families with fireplaces where they can enjoy being with each other and know that they’re going to be warm and safe.”

Stoves and Bicycles – An Unlikely Yet Successful Match

If you had to think of two things that have virtually nothing in common, you couldn’t do better than stoves and bicycles. But for Valley Stove & Cycle in Kentville, Nova Scotia, it’s proven to be a successful combination not only as a business but also as a source for wellness.

Valley Stove opened for business in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia in 1977 and, in the early 1980s and at the urging of an employee, began also to offer bicycles. It was a relatively easy diversification because the company’s stove distributor also carried a line of bikes. From one line of bikes, the company has grown steadily until it’s a leader in both heating appliances and human-powered transportation.

“It’s an odd marriage, and the only logical connection between stoves and bikes is how they offset each other seasonally,” said Bill Harvie, co-owner. “When it’s too cold to ride a bike, we focus on stoves.”

Collateral benefits from the bike business are many for Valley Stove & Cycle. Harvie and the company’s employees are avid bike riders, that keeps them in great shape and helps to manage stress. Additionally, the company sponsors weekly group bike rides that provide invaluable networking within the local community.

Valley Stove & Cycle is located about an hour from Halifax in the Annapolis Valley which offers beautiful rolling terrain featuring farming, fishing, and coastal views. It’s an ideal setting for both street and mountain biking.

“Good health and a healthy business go hand-in-hand,” Harvie said. “When your people are fit, full of energy, and enthusiastic they make good salespeople. By riding together we not only have fun, but we also build relationships with each other and that makes for a great team.”

Wellness Begins with Good Nutrition

As a wellness dietitian and home chef, Ethan Dixon is a firm believer that wellness begins with good nutrition. After all, as the cliché goes, we are what we eat.

“Good nutritional habits really begin with motivation,” he said. “It’s easy for someone to go with processed or fast foods if those foods are convenient. For good nutrition, however, we have to find motivations other than convenience. I work with people to pursue positive motivators such as increased energy, weight loss, and just feeling better overall.”

Dixon’s approach to helping people improve their nutrition incorporates accountability through family and friends, or by working with a professional dietician such as himself. Fad diets are typically not effective, which makes foundational aspects, such as a support system, essential to good nutrition. He also recommends multi-vitamins as supplements to healthy diets.

“A mantra of mine is that many small changes can add up to one big change,” he said. “If a person can eliminate sugary sodas, then that’s 500 calories eliminated per soda, and over time that contributes to a healthier life.”

With obesity at epidemic proportions in America, a central focus for dieticians such as Dixon is on weight control.

“I often focus on the timing of when a person consumes a meal,” he said. “Rather than just grabbing fast food when it’s convenient, it’s much better for a person to stick to a food schedule that is structured with nutrition and creates accountability for time and place and moderation.”

Work sites can also play an important role in good nutrition, according to Dixon.

“When you celebrate a birthday or other special occasion at work, in addition to cake or pizza, why not also have a healthy choice?” he said. “Employers can also provide water jugs or bottles for employees, and establish some sort of exercise or walking program. It’s important that everyone get moving throughout the day.”

Bringing Fun Into Work Is Healthier for Everyone

When it comes to adding a touch of fun to the workplace for a healthier lifestyle, John Bassemier could have written the book. As the founder of Bassemier’s Fireplace, Patio and Spas in Evansville, Indiana, more than 50 years ago, he has built a successful business that often incorporates whimsy bordering on outlandish to grow the business and add fun to the work.

By way of example, Bassemier was intrigued by the idea of building and racing paddleboats, and with the help of close friends and associates, built and raced the world’s fastest paddleboat, clocking a record setting 52 miles per hour. He raced through the Midwest, attracting media attention for his business and having a whale of a good time.

“The essential in promotions is that you not only attract attention to yourself, but you get media coverage for your business as well,” he said. “That’s what I’ve focused on over the years.”

Creative promotional events that add whimsy to the serious business of fireplaces and spas included cutting a spa in half and placing it in front of the store to highlight a half-price sale. There was also the “Recycle Your Backyard” event when local residents were invited to bring in propane tanks for recycling, along with abandoned swing sets and decrepit patio furniture. On a more serious note, the business has also sponsored safety seminars.

While these promotional events have been a secret to his success, Bassemier is quick to acknowledge the support and understanding from his wife, Diane, and the support of their two sons, James and Jeff, who are taking over the business.

“I have had fun with the business and always looked for new ideas,” he said. “I’ve been a magnet for information; I try to learn all the time, and I’ve been willing to take some risks. I learned that if you have the survivor gene like I do, then you take risks and you’ve got a fighting chance to be OK.”

Intentional Approach Key to Balancing Work and Family

As CEO of Rich’s for the Home, Jon Chapman is responsible for the operation of five super stores in and around Seattle, Washington, selling fireplaces, stoves, hot tubs, grills, and outdoor furniture. It’s a job with significant responsibilities, including carrying forward the heritage of his father, Larry, who founded the business in 1979.

“Consistent exercise is an essential part of being healthy, and it keeps me sharper so that my mind is clear for the important decisions we have to make,” he said. “After Christmas each year, the gym is packed with people trying to get back into shape, but by February they are all gone. I see this every year. To add exercise to your lifestyle, you have to push through getting started, and then the key is consistency.”

Just as Chapman is disciplined in how he manages the business, he is equally disciplined in his approach to wellness – running regularly with his wife, healthy diet, outdoor activities with his family, and a consistent sleep pattern.

“I focus on keeping a good balance between my work and my family,” he said. “My work week is pretty consistent and that helps to keep the stress level down. Managing stress is a huge component to health, and consistent exercise and a regular work schedule are great ways to help control it.”

Rich’s for the Home also encourages healthy lifestyles, with associates encouraged to make self-care a priority and to keep stress levels at manageable levels.

“The primary benefit of a healthy lifestyle is how it helps me make better decisions,” he said. “When my mind is clear because I’ve exercised, gotten a good night’s sleep, eaten a healthy meal, had time with my family, I know I can make better decisions.”

Children Offer Opportunity for Active Lifestyles

As new business owners, Karin and Steve Pierce found the demands of the business took priority over just about everything else, other than nurturing their two girls. It was raising a family that helped to keep the couple active and well during the early years of founding and growing Stove & Fireplace Works in Ashland, Wisconsin.

“For small business owners, it’s hard to take care of yourself, but we live near Lake Superior and we always wanted to be involved with our girls,” Karin said. “Steve bought a sailboat, and after work during the summer, we would go sailing with the kids, or swimming, or spending time on the beach. During the winter, we would all go skiing because there are ski areas near where we live. When the girls became involved with soccer, Steve became a referee. By staying involved with our girls, we kept ourselves fit, active, and involved in the community around us.”

By remaining fit and active, the Pierces were able to do a better job of growing their business, according to Karin.

“When you’re active and fit, I believe you are less likely to burn out,” she said. “Every business has issues with customers from time to time, but when you’re healthy, you’re better able to be patient and work things out.”

Motorcycle Racing Offers Ultimate in Stress Relief

While some people turn to yoga or jogging for stress relieve, Lynn Meyer, owner of American Home Fireplace & Patio in West Salem, Wisconsin, has his own special approach – motocross racing.

“Every small business owner needs a stress release, something to help deal with the pressures of working with consumers day in and day out. As a business owner you don’t go home and forget about customers and how the job went; you are always thinking about it,” he said. “An outlet is a way to relax and refresh your mind and take a break from the business so you can keep your sanity. I race motorcycles – that’s my release.”

Meyer and his wife, Raenel, began the business more than 30 years ago, starting out in his grandmother’s chicken coop – an 800 sq. ft. space that they renovated for their fireplace business. The company has grown steadily over the years and today occupies more than 10,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and showroom.

Meyer began racing motorcycles in the 1970s, dropped out in the 1980s to focus on the business, and got back into the sport in 1995. He’s won numerous district and state-level championships, and regularly practices on a 1.1 mile motocross track he built on his 20-acre home site.

“Competition is good as it gives you incentive to practice so you can beat your buddies. Motocross is a good physical release for me, and my mental state is much better because I get that release,” said Meyer, who is 67 years old. “When I’m on a motorcycle, I get endorphins and adrenaline going, and I don’t have to dwell on problems. It’s a whole lot better for me than spending an evening on the couch watching TV.”

Because he has a racetrack in his own backyard, Meyer finds it’s easier to make time to practice, and is regularly joined by other riders from throughout the area. His interest in motocross racing continues a lifelong focus on physical activity that’s encompassed running, biking, weightlifting, wrestling, and cutting wood. It’s all part of a commitment to a healthy way of life.

“When I go to bed at night, I read for several minutes to relax my brain and that helps me get a good eight hours of sleep.”

Nursing Advocate Offers Insights Into Wellness

As a critical care nurse for 30 years and currently serving as a patient advocate based in Chicago, Teri Dreher, RN (Registered Nurse), CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse), iRNPA (Independent Registered Nurse Patient Advocate), is well versed in the elements that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

“If you’re a hardworking small business owner, chances are you skip meals, forgo sleep, and never fully disconnect from work,” she said. “You may think it’s the key to achieving success, but as the heart and soul of your business, you’re not doing it – or yourself – any favors. A small business is only as healthy as its leader. You have an obligation to your employees, stakeholders, and loved ones to take care of your mind, body, and spirit.”

Here are her top recommendations:

  • Surround yourself with good people and delegate to them.
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up relatively early, and stick to this routine.
  • Give yourself a few minutes each morning to reflect, get centered, and plan your day.
  • Nourish your body. Brown-bag healthy foods and don’t skip lunch.
  • Drink more water because when you’re dehydrated your body has to work harder.
  • Work some activity into your day walking, stretching, or climbing stairs.
  • If you have a chronic medical condition, don’t put off getting care.
  • When you’re getting stressed, step outside for fresh air to clear your head.
  • Learn not to sweat the small stuff.
  • Don’t let a small disappointment derail your day.
  • Practice disconnecting each evening.
  • Set a time when you’ll shut down your devices.
  • Make a date every month with someone who inspires you.
  • Be kinder to everyone, especially yourself.

Connections With Others Adds to Health, Success

Making connections with other people who have similar challenges can be an important element for achieving a healthier lifestyle, and no one knows this better than Tim Reed, retail team leader for Fireside Home Solutions in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Reed hosts a podcast, “The Fire Time Podcast,” that allows him to connect with others in the industry nationwide.

“The truth is that most business owners in our industry are so stuck in the day-to-day whirlwind that they can’t break free to think about anything else,” Reed said. “This means that personal care, relationships with loved ones, and strategic thinking to grow the business all suffer because of the frantic needs of the day. Over time, this makes business owners feel discouraged and bitter when the truth is that they work too hard to be steamrolled by their own businesses.”

Reed can relate to these challenges because his podcast audience often shares the same issues that he experiences as he works with associates at two locations in Portland and four in Seattle. In terms of recommendations for others, Reed suggests pursuing work-life harmony, disconnecting from electronic devices during family time, and intentionally scheduling workout and learning time.

“I’m a runner and running has been a game changer for me,” he said. “I grab a stroller and my three-year-old and we’re off. I’m also a big believer in meditation and I’m a big fan of podcasting, which has transformed my business life in marketing and leadership. I’ve been able to make connections with people across the country who are facing similar challenges.”

Reed is also an advocate of reserving time away of the constant demands of a job.

“I actually schedule thinking time for myself. I’ll set aside an hour or two and go to a coffee shop with a notebook and think about our business. It’s been shocking how problems can be solved when you take time out.”

Here’s How A Wellness Expert Takes Care of Herself

Peggy Hall in Aliso Viejo, California, is a nationally recognized wellness and weight loss expert who is a regular contributor to national print and online publications and a frequent guest speaker at seminars and on podcasts. We asked her how she takes care of herself.

“My daily goals are to: (1) Nourish myself with the highest quality foods. (2) Engage in the most enjoyable physical activities. (3) Surround myself with the most positive, encouraging, and uplifting people as possible. (4) Encourage my own self with phrases such as, ‘I got this!,’ ‘I’ll handle whatever comes up!,’ ‘This could turn out to be better than expected!’ (5) Take at least one hour a day all to myself to do what I enjoy doing, guilt free. (6) Take one day a week, doing what I enjoy, away from work.”

As a business owner, Hall acknowledges that it’s easy to put personal needs secondary to those of the business. To counteract this thinking, she emphasizes the connection between good health and business success, and she suggests that regular exercise, eating healthy, and self-care are not all or nothing propositions; even small steps can make a big difference.

“Our existence is a blend of physical, emotional, and mental energy, and each area of our lives affects the other,” she said. “You can have all the healthy eating and exercise you wish, but if you are silently berating yourself for not being good enough, you are harming yourself. On the flip side, you can be a wizard at aspects of your business (using your mental faculties) but if you are neglecting the mental and emotional aspects of your well-being, you are not operating at peak capacity.”

Hall says she has dedicated her career to wellness teaching because she knows that a better life is possible; it’s a state of being what she calls “Living Swell.”

“I can’t stand to see people suffer when there is a better way,” she said. “Our society puts so much pressure on people to look a certain way, to be a certain way, to succeed in a certain way. My message to people is that they don’t have to be perfect to be a success. You cannot hate yourself into doing better.

“Instead of self-loathing, I preach self-care. Instead of self-discipline, I preach self-awareness. Instead of more goal-setting, I preach more soul-getting. In other words, take time to think about what you want out of life, how you want to feel, and what you want to experience.”

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Nothin' But Hearth

By Bill Sendelback

There are still many specialty shops that sell only hearth products; one of them is Custom Fireside Shops in California.

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Islands in the Southwest

By Lisa Readie Mayer

BBQ Island is a three-store retail oasis of barbecue and outdoor living products, backed up by a strong social media and educational element.

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2019 October Business Climate

In early November, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare October 2019 sales to October 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 209 usable returns.

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Parting Shot: Bali in the Desert

The blending of Balinese pod-style architecture with contemporary design aesthetics, then placing it in a desert landscape with towering saguaros and views of Pinnacle Peak, was a challenge for the folks at Tate Studio Architects in Cave Creek, Arizona.

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