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Visitors Learn Healthy Living at Potomac ABC Fair

By Jan Yakush

On any given Sunday, the Potomac Adventist Book and Health Food Store (ABC) in Silver Spring, Md., is abuzz with activity—customers in search of books, food, music, gifts, etc. But mixing a Sunday with a mini health fair recently took it to a whole new level!

The Potomac ABC is more than just a Christian bookstore situated between Target and Staples. The staff upholds the belief that Seventh-day Adventists have a distinctive health message and a calling to share it with the world. For ABC staff, that means ministering to the community, and in a retail setting, health fairs are a great place to start!

Staff was quite pleased at the community’s response to their e-newsletter inviting them to attend the mini health fair. The fair offered four seminar presentations, food and supplement demonstrations, and a foot detoxing station, which attendees had to signup for in advance. To the staff’s surprise, the 42 spaces available for the foot detoxing were almost immediately filled!

The seminars were aimed at overall health covering topics like a healthy lifestyle, the immune system, detoxing, caffeine, etc. The attendance at each was higher than expected, with some people taking in all four! That conveyed to staff that people are hungry for reliable information and willing to spend a Sunday soaking it all in.

And who doesn’t like free food samples? In this economy, we are hearing more and more that people are eating out less and cooking more at home. Staff report that store patrons regularly state they are trying to eat healthier to avoid being ill since they do not have health insurance at present. Staff likes to encourage eating healthfully and cooking foods at home, since that tends to be healthier! As a result, the fair included a food demo on how to make homemade soups and chowders.

In conjunction with the fair seminar on the dangers of caffeine, ABC staff demoed two coffee substitutes. Roma is an instant coffee-style hot beverage—made from chicory—quite common in Adventist circles, which staff thought the general population might also enjoy. Teeccino is a brewed beverage based on carob with 10 flavors for all kinds of tastes: light, medium, and dark roast; chai; vanilla nut; hazelnut, etc. Unsure how the average coffee drinker would respond to these substitutes, staff was both surprised and pleased by their assessments!

Paul Glenn, the book department manager, can often be heard saying, “It’s a great day at the Potomac Adventist Book and Health Food Store!” But, it’s an even better day when staff gets to share their beliefs to all sorts of Christian and unchurched customers!