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SLFMKR, a health and wellness apothecary, opens retail location, finds success despite COVID precautions

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Posted at 7:22 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 20:07:57-04

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — The SLFMKR (pronounced “Self Maker”) health and wellness apothecary in The Van Aken District probably never would have been created if not for the coronavirus.

It’s an unexpected occurrence while many retail locations struggle to balance opening for business while keeping employees and customers safe.

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Shoppers walk through SLFMKR in The Van Aken District.

“What I thought it was going to be in March is not what I thought it was going to be in May,” said owner Kait Turshen. “Here we are in July with a new store in Van Aken.”

Turshen had been running her business out of a meditation studio in Ohio City with no storefront at all.

“It was primarily around having community-driven events that promoted health and wellness,” said Turshen.

The coronavirus made that business plan impossible.

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OY-L is an Akron-based skin and body care company that Turshen stocks in SLFMKR.

Instead, Turshen said she needed the retail store she didn’t have before so she could safely welcome in a few customers at a time in order to sell any product.

With a storefront, Turshen is able to capitalize on the “shop local” trend inspiring people like Marcie Carrier to keep local businesses afloat.

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"I want to see my community do well and I want to see the people in my community do well," said Theresa Walsh.

“Because a lot of [the business owners] are our neighbors and I feel like the money will come back,” said Carrier.

The research firm McKinsey and Company said this month that American shoppers are becoming more mindful of where they spend their money, are researching brands and products more, and are more willing to break shopping habits, trying new stores or new brands.

That’s great news for Turshen and SLFMKR.

She tries to stock Ohio-made products, carries material that isn’t tested on animals and is a new business in a busy neighborhood.

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Signs, masks, and hand sanitizer have become a normal part of being in public in 2020.

“Since I live in Shaker, I want to support the Shaker businesses, especially independently-owned businesses,” said shopper Theresa Walsh.

“This is a time in both our micro-community and the bigger community of our country and the world where health and wellness are at the forefront of what our focus is,” said Turshen.

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