HealthQuest Vitamins opened in Syosset’s Bagga Plaza, next to Marshalls at 565 Jericho Turnpike Suite No. 102, on June 25, 2018. Sale promotions continue for the one-year anniversary into July of this summer, and the store promoted a “Vitamin Fair” with signage across Chase Bank on Jericho Turnpike last month.
HealthQuest attracts a steady flow of customers to the easily accessible Bagga Plaza, which is close to all major area highways including Route 135 and the LIE and Northern State heading south. One month before his store opened in May 2018 HealthQuest’s owner and CEO Kumar Bahal decided to join the Syosset Woodbury Chamber of Commerce for its widespread and nonstop networking and community outreach opportunities.
“The location here is great but the best asset is our community in Syosset/Woodbury which is so loyal and supportive. It has been one year and it takes retail a while to be profitable. But we got there, and the last month of our first year has been very good for us,” he said.
Bahal was previously employed by Phil’s Vitamin Center at 617 Jericho Turnpike. His interactions with customers there and elsewhere, connected through consultations and referrals, have led him to be considered “a legend on Long Island.” With 28 years in the vitamin and nutritional supplement business, Bahal has learned from his customers through listening and consulting his network of health and wellness providers in the area and beyond. His brand HealthQuest Vitamins has flourished with a strong online presence.
Through Google searches, 1,400 new people found Syosset’s HealthQuest Vitamins in May 2019. Google and other search engines, social media and positive Facebook posts have helped draw prospective customers into his store, but Bahal attributes great ‘word of mouth’ referrals for the steady growth of the store and its online operations. “We have an ad out from June 12, and in just one week 2,135 people had looked at the online ad. Whenever we promote with an ad there are many views and inquiries, people found us and visited our website. Customers find us from all over the country,” Bahal said.
In its Bagga Plaza location some patrons visit the health food establishment next door to HealthQuest Vitamins, adding some “rollover walk-in business” to the mix. To boot, HealthQuest Vitamins hosted a few in-store events, lectures and informational presentations on nutrition and well-being in its 13 months. More community engagement is on the horizon. Regular clients have stopped in and asked about topics for lectures, with new products and treatments making the news (or infomercials) very often.
Bahal explains that his shop keeps all-day hours, 9 am to 7 pm, to best suit customers, as many people in the community and from all over Long Island and the five boroughs visit HealthQuest after work, generally past 4 or 5 pm. That timeframe to stay open and serve the customer base generates great awareness and input from customers, but it also leaves less time for planning special events.
“We are busy all day, generally starting with our opening hours of 9 am and through lunch, then an evening rush too. Most customers coming in are due to referrals, especially from our current customers whether that is family or friends and otherwise based on their existing medical conditions. With that, people bring us their lab results, genetic tests or other reports including CAT scans, MRI’s, anything they have. They come in and we will work with their medications to integrate a nutrition program with their medical program to help individuals achieve optimal health now and well into the future,” Bahal said.
A ‘healthy’ portion of business HealthQuest Vitamins has achieved does not involve its customers routinely stopping in; online orders and virtual or phone consultations have driven the shipping of products to reach a high frequency in the past year. The Syosset store even handles shipping orders destined for Asia and New Zealand.
“We specialize in condition-specific nutrition working with existing and potential health conditions, tailoring our services to customers. People with family all over the country and internationally do send us referrals and I work to design a program for their nutrition that integrates with their medicine and that works,” Bahal said.
Gastrointestinal conditions are an area of focus HealthQuest has provided solutions for its customer base. But Bahal has seen several people seek treatments and supplementation for acid reflux, IBS, colitis, Crohn’s disease, G.I. tract symptoms and more. Other areas many customers seek out products for are fertility and pregnancy, cardiovascular issues, and joint health. Bahal works with customers’ cardiologists, immunologists, other specialists and regular physicians when designing long-term programs for nutrition. So many residents of Syosset, Woodbury and the local region are actually doctors themselves and Bahal treats many of them as well, leading him to observe the health supplements physicians choose to take.
“There is a lot of people working in our great network of doctors that we refer people to or they refer to us, back-and-forth, and they include physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists as well as traditional medical doctors. This is a health-based regional partnership I work with and we have to maintain relationships, refer clients and grow organically,” he said.
Aside from the referral and genetic-testing based recommendations for nutrition and supplement programs, shoppers can peruse the well-organized and well-lit shelves inside the store for their supplements, vitamins, plant-based products and proteins as well as cannabinoid (CBD) oils and products from the industry’s second-leading U.S.-based company.
“From last year we have increased varieties of protein supplements to now include plant-based protein, whey protein, egg protein, coconut protein, goat protein — so many that there’s no end. It has become more popular as people transition into plant-based diets and supplements. People are really into plant-based nutrition today so it has become a critical part of our nutrition lineups. Plus cleansing and detoxification is always a big market. All of the products we carry in HealthQuest Vitamins are more professional and are condition-specific products,” Bahal explained.
From summer 2018 to summer 2019 Bahal says HealthQuest Vitamins has performed as he projected, with a gradual climb that new businesses always anticipate. For the second year Bahal looks forward to expanding the e-commerce part of his business and looking into further results for customers based on genetic testing results.
“It’s about continuing what we do and the services we provide daily. People can stop in and ask us about health products, and we are always providing free samples and information on new products on the market,” Bahal said. On the right-side wall inside of HealthQuest Vitamins visitors can pick up newsletters and print materials, organized by topic, for reading.