MIDLAND PARK, N.J. – At A&A Health Food Center in Midland Park, Mike Puzino helps customers find their supplements.
“Twenty percent off,” he says. “It’s our 45th anniversary sale, all month.”
Three years ago, Puzino and his wife, Jeannie Lamboy-Puzino, bought the shop from her parents, Adrian and Ilse Lamboy of Paramus, who founded it in 1971.
Those were the early days of alternative health consciousness, fueled in part by nutrition advice radio shows, such asWOR-AM’s “Design for Living” featuring Carlton Fredericks.
Today the role of the health store in the community is consumer education, said Puzino, who is a Saddle Brook native and Fair Lawn resident. A&A offers lots of free literature and sells 8,000 products.
Its owners read all the latest journals and stay on top of new products.
Currently trending, for example, are the anti-inflammatory Curcumin, essential oils, and natural weight loss products. Also popular, Puzino said, are alternatives to cholesterol-lowering drugs with side effects — Red Yeast Rice, Artichoke Extract, and Beta-Sitosterol Plant Sterols.
“We give people the tools they need to make their own health decisions,” Puzino said. “We don’t recommend products. We show the products and explain what they’re for. It’s up to people to take that leap.”
For instance, one customer who compromised his kidney with excessive use of protein powders decided to try a stone-breaking supplement. He has been free from stones for six months.
Also at the checkout counter at A&A is a product that’s had a years-long odyssey of its own: Puzino’s children’s book, “Color My Potty.” Written from the point of view of a scared 3-year-old, the illustrated book introduces children to a fun way of learning to go to the bathroom. It involves coloring the toilet water.
Puzino devised the method while raising his daughters, Melina and Maritza, now grown. Through the years, he’s used it to help train nieces and nephews.
The book had been licensed to be distributed through a diaper bag company that was destroyed on 9/11, tying up Puzino’s contract for more than a decade. Recently, he self-published it.
“Color My Potty” is also available at Amazon.