The Mustard Seed re-opens with new look
On Feb. 2, Joe and Dorly Dahlke re-opened the doors of the Mustard Seed at its new location of 1027 E. Main St., formerly the office of the Merrill Courier.
The store had been previously located at 1023 E. Main St., in the lower level of Johnson’s Gifts.
As Dorly explains, the transition and face lift of the new location was accomplished in three weeks, thanks to long hours invested by family and friends.
As part of the renovations, the Dahlke’s converted office space into a kitchen used for packaging of bulk items and creating individual herbal formulas. Other renovations include re-painting and installation of additional shelving units.
Joe and Dorly originally purchased the Mustard Seed in December, following the retirement of former owner Theresa Jaco.
“Through our own journey through some health challenges, Joe and I realized the importance of preventative and integrative health, and personal responsibility,” Dorly explains of how the couple became interested in natural wellness products. “We realized what you do and choices you make will have a direct impact on your quality of life. We became very interested in the products Theresa offered, and when she expressed an interest in retirement, we had conversations about taking the store over. When she made that decision in December, we didn’t want to see it closed. We felt convinced the store was of importance to the community.”
In looking at the history of the Mustard Seed, it is readily apparent how the Dahlke’s came to such a conclusion. Known by various names, the business has been a fixture in the community for over 40 years.
The store, formerly known as “The Health Lane,” was located on Scott Street, owned by the Lane and Rusch families in the late ‘70s.
Rose Hofele then purchased the store in the 1980s and combined it with an antique store known as Second Hand Rose. When Mrs. Hofele moved the antiques to the back of the store, she renamed “The Health Lane” to “The Mustard Seed.”
“Teresa has always been such a wealth of knowledge,” Dorly adds. “Education is something we are passionate about. We want to help people learn for themselves; the why and how of better health. There are so many wonderful products out in the market to help people with their health needs, but the right information has to come with it.
“Food, herbs and supplements are not a one-size-fits-all fix,” she added. “Each individual person is different, with different needs.”
The Mustard Seed provides a wide range of unique products, including organic bulk spices, flours, rices, soups and nuts.
“We will gradually be adding some new items as well,” Dorly explains. “Our aim will be to provide the market demand of products for our customers.”
Two product manufacturers of interest which Dorly mentions are Cellfood and Bell Lifestyle.
“They’re not very large companies, but yet they focus very hard on excellence, and being very good at what they do,” she said.
A key addition to the new location is that of clinical herbalist Holly Behrens M.S.
“Holly is just amazing!” Dorly says with smile and a chuckle. “We shared office space with her at our previous location and seeing her as a client helped me to understand what she does with herbal medicine. From that I gained an appreciation for the effectiveness of what she does. We decided we want her to be a part of the Mustard Seed, she has the education and credentials that we don’t.”
Behrens holds a Masters Degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health in Laurel, Maryland.
“I have always liked plants,” Behrens adds. “I first took an interest in herbal medicine when I was in an undergraduate anthropology program and we took a trip to Ecuador. While staying with native peoples, they would go in their backyard and explain the medicinal properties of various plants. They had a plant for everything! From toothaches and sinus infections to something for babies with colic! I thought that was the most fascinating thing! Here are these people living without western medicine and were so healthy and happy. I knew then that this was something I wanted to look into.”
Armed with enthusiasm and her experience from the trip, Behrens returned and finished her anthropology degree. Following graduation, she came across the program in Laurel, which was also an accredited university.
“I was so happy to find something related to herbal medicine! I made one visit visited and realized this is what I wanted,” Behrens said.
Examples of products Behrens offers include salves and elixirs made specific for customers.
Both Behrens and Dahlke agree business has been great since the February opening.
“I would say we have an even mix of customers purchasing products, and customers seeking advice,” Dorly said. “As I said before, educating our customers is just as important to us as selling our products. We are not just a retailer, we are happy to provide our customers with the resources to get the information they need.”