Who is AltHealth? 17th year on-line
Mike left school at 15 and joined the Royal Navy as a Radio Operator. He trained at HMS Ganges and HMS Mercury and went on to serve on numerous ships and shore establishments. He left after 11 years and trained as a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy but when he married he decided to change his career path.
Mike trained in computing whilst working at Leeds University as a Technician and then went to McDonnel Douglas Information Systems, as a computer engineer.
Mike Wilson bought the first shop in Wakefield in November 1986, having been diagnosed as diabetic, and fearing he may lose his job as a computer engineer.
"I had always been interested in health foods. I soon started buying more shops - pontefract, Morley, Heckmondwyke, Harrogate and Mexborough. After five years, I volunteered for redundancy, and was made redundant and this was a relief as I could now concentrate on my business."
"Initially I ran the shops just by maintaining the existing stock items, but during the 1990s the country went into a long recession. At the same time Holland and Barrett went into a period of expanding fast, and Mail order companies were starting to spring up."
To compete, he switched from stocking popular selling lines to own label lines and was able to compete with Holland and Barrett on price.
"I realised by doing this that customer loyalty was improved, mainly due to products my staff had recommended being our own label, meaning that they could only get these from my shops. Customers tend to stick to a product once they have started using it. after the recession trade picked up and grew rapidly, year on year."
"Myself and staff are working on the website and expanding this side of the business, we have gradually grown the site from 100's of products to now over 22,000 products listed, and over 1000 information and news pages."