For the past 20 years, Mike Pecora has been doing his part to maintain the health and fitness of the community.
As a 25-year-old Pecora opened a health food store (originally attached to a fitness centre), and despite many changes over the years, Elite Nutrition has just celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 1.
“I love having a retail store. Between this and my music company I get to see completely different groups of people all the time,” said Pecora, who also serves as a Town councillor, and is the owner and operator of Elite Sound and Light.
“I sell supplements by day, and I get to help people party by night. I get the best of both worlds. I see you at your best and your worst. So that’s been pretty entertaining.”
Originally called Golden Health Foods, Elite Nutrition has operated out of a few different locations, the most recent move putting them beside Bacchus Books on 9th Avenue North.
“Over the years it’s definitely evolved and changed. That’s just the way the Golden market is, you always have to adapt,” said Pecora.
“This location here has been fantastic. We got the chance to expand our lines, and business has literally doubled since the move (in late March).”
Not only has he been able to expand some of his existing lines, Pecora has also started bringing in food and gluten-free products, an area of the business that he says will continue to grow.
You don’t survive 20 years in the retail world by luck, and over the years Pecora has found a very simple formula to which he attributes his success.
“You deal with the needs of the community, and deal with the customers. That’s your life blood,” he said.
Elite supplies its shelves based on the needs and requests of the customers, as well as the extensive product knowledge Pecora has gained from years of classes and seminars. They tend to steer away from fads, and stick to product lines that Pecora has researched and knows to be effective.
But in the end, it all comes back to the customers.
“I’ve got some very loyal customers. I’ve got a group of ladies that have supported me right from the get-go. I pretty much know what they want when they walk in the store,” said Pecora.
“I’m like a good bartender, I know what a person wants to drink before they order. If I see them parking out front, I can usually have their products on the counter before they walk in the door. I haven’t been wrong too often.”