Having worked at Market of Choice for more than a decade, Simone believes that her role as Whole Health Manager at our Belmont store is the perfect job for her.
“It’s the first and only job I’ve had in grocery, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life – it really is,” she says.
Simone began her Market of Choice career in the Meat Department at another Portland-area store, where she prepared nutritious pan-ready entrées and learned everything there is to know about the wide variety of meats we offer. Even while in that position, she often found herself answering questions and helping customers in the Whole Health Department, which was located in close proximity to her department.
Certified in aromatherapy with some massage therapy school under her belt, Simone has always had a passion for taking a wholistic approach to medicine, body care and healing.
“When I was a little kid, for fun, I would go into stores and smell soaps and shampoos – I’ve always really loved personal care products,” she says. “I’m fascinated by herbs, aromatherapy supplements, body care.”
Another reason she became interested in skin care products and wholistic healing stemmed from a skin condition she developed in her late teens.
“My biggest question at the time was ‘Why is this happening?’ and doctors don’t really work from that perspective most of the time. Instead, they often said to me, ‘Do this, or put this on it, or take this steroid.’ And I was just really curious about why my body was doing this, so I started looking in books and researching herbs and alternative ways to deal with it.”
In the years she’s worked for Market of Choice, Simone says, she’s found a lot of personal and professional fulfillment in her various positions, but especially in her current role because she’s providing customers with helpful information while managing the Whole Health Department.
“I really like when people confide in me and tell me what their stories are, so that I can help them. I also enjoy getting feedback. When people return to the store and tell me that something has worked well or alleviated an issue, it’s like this jump-for-joy moment.”
One particularly impactful interaction was when someone shared that they were having extreme panic attacks but did not want to take the medicine that was recommended because she was breastfeeding at the time. Simone did her research, talked with a supplier who specializes in herbs and was able to offer her a combination of herbs to try.
“Within a week of taking these two herbs, she was just blown away because it had helped her more than anything else. Not only did it help her, but it was also a paradigm shift in her thinking because it was a nonpharmaceutical that had changed her life,” Simone says. “That was a big moment for her and for me.”
A big part of her job, Simone says, is listening to customers. “When people started asking for CBD a couple years ago, I was like ‘OK, this is really interesting,’ so we started having a conversation internally, which led to more research,” she says. “I was fortunate to attend a CBD expo to continue my learning and bring that information back to our discussions. We now carry a wide variety of CBD products.”
Simone also likes the merchandising aspect of her job. “It’s always a puzzle of how I’m going to add more, but I really do like adding new products to the mix.”