By Heidi Simmons

“We want our customers to achieve optimal health,” said Starkie Sowers, Director of Education, Clark’s Nutrition & Natural Foods Market.  “We are absolutely committed to assisting and educating our clientele.”   

On two consecutive Saturdays, November 12 and 18, at 3:00 pm, Clark’s Nutrition in Rancho Mirage will hold a free workshop on essential oils.  “The essential oils have been around since the beginning of time,” said Sowers.  “There are so many effective uses and such a variety of oils, we want to help people better understand how they can use them every day.”

Sowers will lecture on essential oils and winter health.  “It will be a spa day.  We’ll have handouts, samples and demonstrations,” said Sowers.  As part of their commitment to education and a healthy community, Clark’s Nutrition holds free classes, lectures and seminars throughout the year.

“We take a holistic approach that includes diet, prevention, alternative therapy and nutritional supplements.  We’re here to help people find ways to live and feel better,” said Sowers.  Clark’s also is available to do health related presentations for local businesses and organizations.

Clark’s Nutrition slogan “Live Better, We Can Help,” greets customers on the front door of the 25,000 square foot store that includes healthy candy to organic wines and everything in between from environmentally friendly paper products, fine meats, natural cosmetics, bulk herbs, over 100 bins of nuts and grains, trays of wheat grass, fresh produce, vitamins and numerous essential oils.

Located at the south-west crossroads of Monterey and Dinah Shore in Rancho Mirage, Clark’s is in the middle of the shopping complex.  The free-standing market has over 20,000 plus thoughtfully selected products in its well-stocked inventory. 

Every item in the store is carefully considered by Clark’s staff for the purest ingredients.  Committed to bringing the best merchandise to the store, Clark’s checks and scrutinizes the labels, knows the source of each and every product and the nature of the company’s business practices. 

“We pride ourselves in filtering through everything for our clientele,” said Sowers.  “We are very particular about what we sell.  Our customers know they can trust what’s on our shelves.” 

Along with quality products, Clark’s strives to connect with customers.  “We let our customers determine what living better is for them.  Whether it’s a raw, paleo, vegan or a weight loss diet, or alternative treatments for pain, better focus or sleep, we can help,” said Sowers.  “All our Nutrition Consultants are trained to answer our customer’s health related and nutritional questions.” 

Each of Clark’s Nutrition Consultants goes through an in-house 5-level training program.  Level five is the highest.  Nutritional Consultants wearing a black or burgundy shirt have completed classes in nutrition science. 

Clark’s is in the process of partnering with Huntington College of Health Sciences for accreditation and certification programs for their employees.  Clark’s Nutrition Consultants do not work on commissions, which is not common practice at other health related stores.  “We have the most knowledgeable people working for us,” said Sowers.

Walk through the doors of Clark’s and there is an immediate sense of being on the path to living better. 

There is so much to see and explore.  There are colorful and inviting rows of gluten free, dairy alternatives, organic foods, non-GMO, dye-free, to name only a mere few of the specialty products available.  Clark’s also supports CV growers and small businesses.  Peruse the shelves and there’s coffee made in Joshua Tree and fresh green tea from Desert Hot Springs.

Local celebrity and lngevity advocate Suzanne Summers has a cosmetic counter with a Clark’s consultant ready to provide a makeover. 

Clark’s Nutrition first opened its Riverside store in 1972.  There are now four Clark’s in California.  Rancho Mirage Clark’s opened in 2005.  The other two stores are in Loma Linda and Chino.

“Each store has it’s own personality.  Rancho Mirage is a favorite of mine because our clientele there is so relaxed and friendly.  No one seems in a hurry or stressed,” said Sowers.

Clark’s is a family owned and operated business.  “The fourth generation is coming up into the company now,” said Sowers.   A sense of family and community is an important part of Clark’s mission. 

Sowers has worked for Clark’s for 36 years.  He is enthusiastic about the quality and health benefits of their products.  He is incredibly knowledgeable and personable.  His energy is contagious.

“I’m especially excited about sharing the Veriditas essential oils in the up-coming workshop,” said Sowers.  “This is the best quality oil on the market and they only sell their product to qualified independent retailers.  We love the company and the way they grow and make their oils.”

Veriditas by Pranarom is a French company located in Provence that grows artisanal, organic plants to ensure high-grade therapeutic potency which is all natural and safe for both ingestion and topical use.  They are 100 percent pure “Ecocert” certified.  (France’s more stringent version of the USDA Organic seal of which they also have certification.) 

Veriditas embraces the Co-op Trade Movement by working with small family operated organic farms and distilleries.  They sell directly to their chosen retail partners, like Clark’s.  This process allows their high-quality product to be more affordable and competitive.  “In the case of Veriditas, you get what you pay for,” said Sowers.

In a quick few minutes, Sowers delivers the amazing biochemistry and history of essential oils.  He rattles off a myriad of pure oils with properties that can be used individually or combined to help people feel better physically and mentally. 

“It takes 2,000 pounds of lavender blossoms to make a gallon of lavender oil,” said Sowers.  “People are not aware that there a several varieties of lavender and they do a lot more than just serve to relax and calm the nervous system.”

Like a wine connoisseur, Sowers describes how and where the lavender plants grow makes a difference. “The variety, ‘Lavender Spike’ grows wild in the hot Spanish desert and has a different chemical profile than ‘Lavender Angustifolia’ grown in the French Alps,” said Sowers.  “The dry climate makes the Spike variety high in camphor which is helpful as a sinus and bronchial treatment.”

Sowers’ enthusiasm for essential oils amps up as he anticipates just how fun the November workshop will be.

“We will briefly discuss the basics of essential oils and then move on to treatments for common winter colds and illness,” said Sowers.  “We’ll have some essential oil recipes for spa treatments and how to use essential oils for face and skin rejuvenation.”  

It’s clear that Sowers loves what he does.  As the Director of Education for Clark’s, he lives what he teaches and uses essential oils every day whether it’s for exercise or cooking. 

“The Veriditas oils have upped the medicinal game,” said Sowers.  “They are the best essential oils on the market.  There is a big difference in the quality and I am excited to share the wide ranging benefits and uses with our customers.”

The Coachella Valley is fortunate to have a Clark’s and there is always room to “Live Better.”  It’s nice to know Clark’s is here and eager help.

The essential oil workshop will be held inside Rancho Mirage’s Clark’s Nutrition & Natural Foods Market.   Seating is limited, so be sure to get there early.  For more information call 760 324 4626 or sign-up in the store — it’s free.  Visit their website for more interesting articles and product information

  • Starkie Sowers - General Manager