Over the last 30 years, the store has occupied four local locations, and its current spot for five years. “It’s small, but it serves its purpose,” said Guise. “It helps a lot of people.”
The store offers an array of alternative health products. “The big thing is the gluten- and wheat-free products,” said Guise, adding that an increasing number of people are developing sensitivities to wheat and gluten. Health Hut’s extensive wheat- and gluten-free items include cookies in flavors such as double chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, and peanut butter persimmon ($1.75) and locally produced granola ($5 per pound).
The store also carries pastas, breads, pizza dough, donuts and even chicken nuggets and fish sticks for gluten-sensitive children. Another product, Glutenzyme ($22), is intended to let customers digest small amounts of gluten when eating out, or in other situations in which they can’t monitor their diets.
Other popular products include locally produced raw honey in various sizes ($7-$17) and local olive oil. Guise tries to stock bee pollen when its in season “to get rid of allergies.” The pollen is also a popular food supplement. “It’s very good for you,” Guise said. Athletes appreciate the electrolyte additives ($4.99-$24.98) available to turn anything, even regular water, into a healthy sports drink without the degree of sugar present in most name brands. Naturally sweetened sodas sell for 99 cents to help you cool off on a hot day.
Health Hut caters to many dietary and medicinal needs. Vegetarian, vegan and kosher products are available, as are vitamins, minerals, and holistic and homeopathic remedies. Guise mentioned the Bell brand ($20-$30) as “unbelievably good” for helping with various physical maladies, aches and pains. “They have 70 products, most of which are money-back guaranteed.” Safe, herbal hair dye sells for $16.99 per box. “It lasts as long as the other stuff, but it doesn’t have the harsh chemicals,” said Guise. Health Hut aims to please – Guise will do her best to custom order a desired product if the store doesn’t regularly carry it. The shop also hosts a massage therapist for those seeking additional stress relief.
Guise’s local involvement extends far beyond running a business. She is active in local politics and serves on various organizational boards. She helped to start the Tri Delta Transit bus system, continues to sell bus tickets at Health Hut, and provides Western Union money wiring services. She’s also active in Soroptimist of East County as another way of serving the community.
Guise’s store has made an impact. One customer expressed deep appreciation for not needing to drive to Walnut Creek for her health food products: “They have tons of stuff that I can’t get anywhere else.”
Health Hut, located at 161 Chestnut St. in Brentwood, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 925-634-5361 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.