FARGO - Plentiful parking and six times as much potential traffic are big reasons for Swanson Health Products' decision to close its downtown Fargo store — the only retail store in the company — and reopen in the former Josef’s West Academy space in the 45th Street Colonnade mall.
Swanson CEO Corey Bergstrom said Friday, Nov. 15, that the downtown shop will close near the end of December and the new shop will open in early January.
Bergstrom said that with the lease renewal date approaching for 109 Broadway, Swanson asked customers what they wanted and studied alternate locations.
“We knew we wanted a store locally. It’s kind of our headquarters store,” Bergstrom said.
But as much as customers said they liked Swanson products, they didn’t like hunting for parking to buy them, he said.
The new location at 4501 15th Ave. S. has parking to spare, and company research found that the area enjoys six times the traffic as the downtown site.
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“We’re moving to more of a retail-centric part of town, right near another Fargo-based great company, Scheels,” Bergstom said.
Bergstrom said the old and new stores are roughly the same size, but the new space has been designed to be more productive, incorporate more technology, and showcase the firm’s vitamins, minerals and other supplements more effectively.
A Nov. 5 post on the Swanson Health Products Facebook page said the new space is shaping up.
“We are excited that the ceiling at our new location has gotten painted. Construction is moving along, moving day will be here soon. FYI we still have 100's of items on sale to prep for our move... really great deals on natural health and wellness items abound!!!” the post said.
Bergstrom said most of Swanson sales are made direct to consumers through catalogs, and now online.
The important thing is that Swanson was determined to have a bricks and mortar store, and have it in the Fargo-Moorhead area, where it also has its headquarters, warehouse and manufacturing facilities, he said.
The “hands-on element” is valuable, he said.
“We have found that our retail associates are very knowledgeable. We get a lot of customers that come in and ask for their expertise. What products should I take? How often should I take them? We’ve got some of the most experienced associates you’re going to find. They’re tremendous in helping the customers get products they need,” Berstrom said.
Success at the 45th Street Colonnade could lead to Swanson shops going up elsewhere, too.
“We’ll actually consider other stores based on how this store performs. It really comes down to we want to be where our customers need us. For some locations, it will be in the community, and in others, it will be online or on the phone,” Bergstrom said.
“I think the biggest thing for us… is that we’re just dedicated to the Fargo-Moorhead area,” he said. “Being a 50-plus year company, we’re proud of our North Dakota roots, so there was no decision about whether we have a store or not. It was where we have a store.”