Passion for the natural food industry, and particularly for the independent retailer.
Lester G Burks, CEO of Life Line Foods, LLC, has been active as an advocate for the natural products industry, staying abreast of laws and regulations affecting the industry and has worked to help form legislative opinion for DSHEA (Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994) and NOP (National Organic Program) for the USDA. Lester also spent 15 years on the Science and ComPLI Committee for the Natural Products Association, and has been an active board member of SENPA for the past 9 years, serving as treasurer for the last 2 years.
Lester believes that the Independent Natural Products Retailers are the backbone of the industry, and have the ability to disseminate and provide vital alternative healthcare information to their customers; therefore, he is a strong supporter in the industry for these Independent Natural Products Retailers.
He has spent his career in the Natural Products Industry, beginning by working alongside his parents in their health food bakery business, Life Line Foods, which produced bakery products under the brand name, Breads for Life. Lester purchased Life Line Foods in 1988 and developed the Breads for Life brand into the #1 Selling Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and produced the first frozen organic pizza distributed in Health Food Stores. Another first was the development of Liquid Dietary Supplements under the brand name Buried Treasure. This made Life Line Foods not only a health food manufacturer but also a producer of Nutriceuticals.
Lester makes his home in Pikeville, Tennessee, and has a variety of outside interests including farming, gardening, woodworking, sailing, and flying.
This year is my 25th year in this wonderful industry. I have two stores in central Florida and go to work every day with a deep commitment to my customers, my staff and the community that supports us. I have previously served on the board of directors for 10 years as a board member, Treasurer and proudly as President from 2012 – 2015. I came from a strong business background, but nothing prepares you for the challenges and opportunities that owning your own business can throw at you. I know that I still have so much to offer SENPA and its members. In an ever changing industry I think it is important to stay true to who we are and focused on why we do this. This southeast region has an enviable reputation of leadership, synergy and plain getting things done and I ask that you vote for me so that I can continue to serve on this board. Thank you.
2002 to 2008 Diane’s Natural Food Market
Part-owner of Diane’s Natural Food Market in St Augustine, FL.
Started with 1 location & grew to 3 stores total during our 6yr ownership
Sold the chain in 2008 & became the General Manager for the new owners
2010 to 2016 Nutraceutical
Sales Rep for Northeast Florida
Called on over 150 accounts throughout the territory
2016 to present KeHE Distributors
Regional Sales Director for the Southeast Natural Channel
Responsible for 5 Territory Sales Managers in the region
We have over 500 accounts in the SE that we service
Investment Sponsor for SOHO
Ryan Sensenbrenner leads retail marketing at Enzymedica, Inc. He is focused on developing programs to support independent health food stores and small chains across the nation.
Passionate about the natural products industry, he has worked with retailers across the country to help them better market the strengths of their businesses, driving increased revenue and brand recognition within their communities. He was a featured speaker for SENPA’s three 2016 roadshows, as well as at SOHO 2016.
In addition to his role at Enzymedica, Sensenbrenner serves at the will of natural products retailers as a current member of the board of directors of the Southeast Natural Products Association (SENPA). Through this role, he is a champion of corporate responsibility and education programs to support the needs of independent retailers.
(727) 846-0320 Ext. 301
MEET THE BOAD OF DIRECTORS
Marie Montemurro has been working in the natural products industry, prior to moving to North Carolina, as a business owner in a gourmet specialty foods store, restaurant bakery, and wholesaler in New York for more than seventeen years. In her current business, Lovey’s Natural Foods and Café in Wilmington NC, Marie began managing the deli and café for the original owner. With a second ownership Marie was asked to assume the position as general manager and to date she is currently a co-owner of the Lovey’s Natural Foods and Cafe.
Lovey's is located in a community with some of the world's most amazing customers and brings strong support of the non-GMO movement and provides the community with the best quality organic and non-GMO foods, supplements, and household needs.
Marie has served on the SENPA Board of Directors for 2 years and serves on several committees to bring a strong voice for the Independent Retailer to continue to build a firm foundation for the association’s future.
Jerilyn Bristow has been living and working in natural health for over 22 years. It has been through her own healing that she developed a deep love for, and commitment to, this industry. Jerilyn has over 18 years work experience as a broker representative, manufacturer representative, product educator, independent natural market manager and national educator. The companies include Choice Marketing, Sunbelt Sales and Marketing, The Turnip Truck Natural Market, Bluebonnet Nutrition and Nordic Naturals. She has studied with Clayton College of Natural Health (ND program), North Carolina Herbal Studies, Asheville NC (Herbal Apprentice program) and Natural Health Institute (LMT). Jerilyn is currently a National Educator for Nordic Naturals. In this position, she travels the country educating store staff and communities on the benefits of Omega-3’s. Her responsibilities include creating content, executing trainings, radio shows and product seminars.
Personally, Jerilyn is deeply involved in naturally fermented foods. She ferments her own goat milk kefir, water kefir, coconut water kefir, vegetables and condiments. She is also a vocal advocate for local organic farming, CSA and farm shares. Jerilyn practices and teaches natural healing and clean food for vibrant living. She is committed to supporting and promoting this industry.
My mother, Mary Gimmey, started the ‘original’ Wholefoods in 1976, when it wasn’t cool to have a health food store, so I have grown up in this industry. When she died in 1998, I took over the reins. I was able to raise our boys in the store while homeschooling them at the same time. I kept them active in 4-H activities. 4-H taught a lot about volunteerism and we still look for opportunities to help our community, such as the homeless shelter, the animal shelter and our Fire and Police departments. I love to serve people in all walks of life. Giving back to the community in the form of nutritional tidbits is one way I feel that I make a difference. My husband’s dream has always been to have a dairy, so, now, we own a small, raw milk dairy on his homestead in rural Oklahoma.
We will celebrate our 42nd year in business this year. The lifeblood of the store is my education, so, I strive to get as much of that as possible. The tradeshows are my greatest source of education. I was asked to step onto the NPA-SW board in 2015. Serving as the Convention Chair the following year, we saw the largest show we have had after struggling for many years. I welcome the opportunity to continue doing just that as a board member for SENPA.
Scott Cloud joined Natural Immunogenics Corporation (NIC) last year as Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In addition to these roles he leads NIC’s educational efforts attending dozens of symposiums and trade events each year. Scott brings to NIC thirty years of experience in both nutritional supplement retail and practitioner channel experience, having worked with premier US companies such as Schwabe North America (Nature’s Way, Enzymatic Therapy and Integrative Therapeutics) and Enzymedica during his career. Scott has a solid background in business development strategies as well as strong training and educational experience and has hosted hundreds of National and International educational events during the span of his career. Scott and his wife Rose, who also has decades of natural products industry experience, reside in Florida. While his residence is in West Palm Beach, Scott spends the majority of his time in Sarasota where NIC is headquartered.
I am passionately involved in the health food industry as an educator and business owner since 1992. I initially opened an 800 square foot supplement shop in Gastonia NC and quickly understood that supplements did not fully address the needs of my customers. After working with customers and listening to request from the community, I brought in organic foods and HBA to more adequately address healthy living which resulted in relocating Organic Marketplace to a 5000 sq ft location in 2003.
Initially serving on the board of SENPA inspired me to continue to be a part of the work we were accomplishing to advance independent natural products retailers in a market that was changing. I've always been a teacher and my love of education has guided my career path. It has taken me into teaching health and wellness, something that I feel extremely passionately about as I learn every day. My commitment to you as the current Director of Education is to continue the inspiring initiatives that our board has developed over the last 3 years. Through my direction along with my dedicated committee members, we have produced 12 Road Shows, our grass roots outreach, throughout the southeast empowering
Independent retailers with up to date product awareness, legislative awareness, and marketing tools that are crucial for competing in the competitive market we face. Nothing will ever replace the interaction of a knowledgeable staff member and their loyal customer. It is the role of Independent "Retailer. It is my heart to serve on this board and to continue the vision as well as develop and achieve the most valuable asset, personal knowledge, and integrity to the Natural Product industry.
Andrew Fleming began his career in 1992 working retail for Dierbergs Markets in St.Louis. After holding varying positions over his 8 year tenure he elected to join KeHE in 2000. His tenure with KeHE lasted over 16 years and in that time he held positions ranging across all retail formats. Many of those positions allowed him to work with many industry groups as well including SENPA. In his last position at KeHE he served as VP of Natural Sales working with many independent natural retailers and retail entities such as INFRA, NCG and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. He’s recognized in the industry and regularly contributes to many publications such as Vitamin Retailer and Natural Foods Merchandiser as well as speaking at several major trade shows. He joined Signature, an Impact Company, in June of 2016 as Vice President of Sales working directly with the Sales team and Brand Management teams.
2020 SENPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Steve Palko is the President and CFO of Palko Services. He grew up in the Natural Products industry. He is not a Vegan, loves his occasional steak, and enjoys an adult beverage from time to time, but takes his supplements faithfully and considers himself to be relatively healthy. He attended Purdue University and worked packing orders during summer breaks. After college, Steve worked as a sales rep and has moved all the way up to his current position as President.
Mari Geier is CEO and co-owner of Nuts ‘n Berries Healthy Market in Atlanta, GA. With over 15 years’ experience in health and wellness she strives to help people find creative solutions to live their best lives. Mari entered the natural foods industry in 2015 and has brought her passion for thinking outside the box to her retail store in Atlanta, GA, giving life back to a tired community market. Motivated to see independent natural foods retailers survive in the competitive landscape, Mari and her team capitalized on the now booming CBD industry to become one of the leading CBD retailers in the southeast in just two short years. As a strong advocate for transparency and partnership in the hemp derived CBD industry, Mari works with other independent retailers to help them formulate strategies to take advantage of this emerging trend. Mari and her team will breathe new life into another community store (formerly Rainbow Grocery) in Decatur, GA in January 2020 with the hope of keeping the independent industry alive and thriving for another 40 years.
Jackie Davis has been in the health industry since 1982 when her mother Ruth Tracy, opened Columbia Health Foods. She managed the store for her mom until she took over the store in 2013, moving it and making it a larger store. The new store now offers a raw juice and smoothie bar along with a cafe and yoga studio.
Jackie is the homeschooling mother of seven children, and grandmother to 6 grandchildren. She is also a Biofeedback Practitioner and Light Therapist. She loves the health industry and has a passion to make people feel better. She participates in several health events in her community, in hopes to educate them about their health, so that their quality of life is better. I feel that I bring insight from a store that has seen many trend changes in the industry. I also have a passion to help suppliers recognize the needs of independently owned stores
Chase Ballard I began my career in nutrition and supplementation in 2007. After spending several years managing a nationwide chain store, I saw a number of my ethics challenged with commission based sales and being told to just view customers as a way to meet goals. After a few years of being a nonconformist manager at this chain, I heard about a supplement store that was doing things right and with ethics at the forefront. That store is Nutrition World.
Since starting at Nutrition World in 2013, we have experienced incredible growth. Our sales have doubled, we have launched our e-commerce store, and have managed to find ways to continue growing in spite of the ever-increasingly competitive e-commerce world.
In 2017, I co-founded Nutrition Products Insider with Ed Jones with the mission to protect the independent natural products retailers from Amazon and other e-tailers by holding manufacturers accountable to monitoring their MAP policies. During this time, I have consulted numerous retailers on how to bulletproof their businesses, and I have also worked with manufacturers to create MAP policies or improve the enforcement of them. My work with NPI has only just begun as there is still so much to do to help protect this industry that I love.
Angie O’Pry Blades is owner of Fiesta Nutrition Center, a natural food and supplement store , in Monroe , Louisiana. Fiesta has been in business for 41 years and employs 12 people.
Angie has served on the Board of Directors of the Natural Products Association- Southwest Region for 7 years, the last 2 years as President. She served on the Retail Council of the National NPA for 4 years. She has attended lobbying events in Washington, DC for many years on behalf of independent retailers.
Angie serves on the Board of the Monroe, LA Chamber of Commerce, KEDM Public Radio, and Arts Initiative Program for Youth.
“My primary focus in this position would be to continue the legacy this organization has created with education and advocacy. My many years of experience in the aisles of my store have given me insight into what consumers desire for their health and the freedom to do so. Enthusiasm , passion, and high hopes for this industry are traits I could put to good use for SENPA’s missions. “
SENPA Inc. 727-846-0320 info@SENPA.org