Mastel’s Health Foods Celebrating 50 Years of Service
John Mastel founded Mastel’s Health Foods in 1968 after having suffered the effects of an experimental antibiotic he received while attending college. “I spent 54 days in the hospital with stomach issues brought on from the treatment I received,” states Mastel. “Back then no one was talking about gut health or the need for probiotics.” It wasn’t until he read an article in Prevention magazine that he started to see hope in his situation. After following a strict diet and adding quality supplements to his regime, he was finally on his way to better health.
Having identified the need to provide a place where people could purchase supplements, Mastel opened his doors in December 1968. For the first eight years, he ran the store part time while holding a full-time job at the Highway Department. His sister was his only employee, opening the store every day and helping customers until he could be there after work.
When the store first opened, it was stocked with a variety of vitamins and minerals, including multivitamins, Vitamins C and E and aloe vera as well as herbal teas, granola and farm fresh eggs. There have been many changes since the inception. Today, the company has grown to over 15 employees and is known throughout the Twin Cities for its hard-to-find products and well-educated staff. The store boasts over 4,000 individual products including a full line of supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbs, and the latest in clean personal care products and cosmetics, books, household goods and pet products. They also carry a variety of locally made products and still sell over 130 dozen farm fresh eggs every week.
“We are a small neighborhood store competing with mass market and online stores,” says Lauren Gaffney, buyer for Mastel’s. “Products carried in our store go through a stringent vetting process. Nearly everything we carry has passed the Good Manufacturing Products (GMP) standards and is analyzed by third-party independent labs.”
Mastel’s is known as a destination for those interested in health and wellness. By attending yearly international trade shows and following social media, they stay ahead of the trends. Through this brand-spotting process, they are often one of the first in the Twin Cities to carry trendy products, most recently the Coconut Cult Probiotic Yogurt which is popular with Millennials.
“Our demographics are younger and savvier these days. Our customers are more educated, do their research and are searching for quality products,” says Theresa Goddard, an employee for the past 22 years. “It’s important that we stay on the cutting edge of what is available while staying true to our standards of quality and integrity.”
Mastel’s Health Food is celebrating 50 years of service to the Twin Cities with an Open House, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., October 6. Meet the founder and join in product demos, prize giveaways and games for the kids. The Med Box Grill food truck will offer Turkish food for purchase and there will be live music by Jim Kirkendall.
Cost: Free. Location: 1526 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul. For more information, visit Mastels.com.