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Preferred Nutrition

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Deane Parkes, president of Preferred Nutrition, launched his career in the natural health industry through a chance encounter with a health food store owner who was having a bad day.

One day in 1975, Parkes was shopping in his local health food store when the owner, having an "off" day, asked if he wanted to buy the store. Parkes, who was working in a grain elevator on the Vancouver docks at the time, decided to go for it.

"Without thinking, I said 'sure, says Parkes, "and the next thing, I was a retail store owner with no experience, beginning a career that has been one of the best things to happen to me."

Over the next 25 years, Parkes went on to open a chain of vitamin discount stores before working for companies such as Flora, but never forgot his roots as the owner and operator of a small community health food store. When he decided to start a natural health company, he used his industry experience to create an exclusive company for health food store-and Preferred Nutrition was born.

With a mandate of providing health food retailers with the best products, Parkes used the experience and wisdom he had gained from years in the natural health industry to seek out top-quality product lines to represent and distribute. Preferred Nutrition's first partnership was with Dr. Julian Whitaker, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute and author of the widely read Health & Healing newsletter.

In 2001, Parkes and Preferred Nutrition developed a strategy to introduce this successful American product line into Canadian community health food stores. Preferred Nutrition is now the exclusive Canadian manufacturer and distributor of Dr. Whitaker products including Vision Essentials, Prostate Health, and the popular Forward Plus, a complete daily nutritional supplement.

"From the start," Parkes notes, "our focus was on maintaining the quality and effectiveness of Dr. Whitaker's formulations, while also ensuring that they meet all Canadian health standards and regulations. It was crucial that every product be 100 percent as effective as the original American versions."

Since introducing Dr. Whitaker's products to Canada in 2001, Preferred Nutrition has added two more quality product lines to its offerings. The company now distributes the full line of women's products from Lorna Vanderhaeghe, respected medical journalist, author, and editorial advisory board member for alive Magazine. The most recent addition to the Preferred Nutrition suite of products is the Fat Wars product line from Brad King, author of the bestselling Fat Wars: 45 Days to Transform Your Body (Wiley, 2002).

As Preferred Nutrition continues to add new product lines, Parkes keeps the company focused on informing and educating the public. "The most important thing is to get quality information out to consumers," he notes. "They should have the power to make an informed choice."

For more information about Preferred Nutrition and the products it distributes, visit pno.ca.

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