Health food store grows from personal roots
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This article was published 28/01/2022 (492 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Michelle Gospic doesn’t take her health for granted. Having grown up with two sisters diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a group of conditions that damage and weaken muscles over time, Gospic began to understand in her early teenage years: good health is a gift.
That lesson was hammered home when Gospic’s daughter, Danica Marincil, received terrible news in March 2020, just before the pandemic first swept into Winnipeg. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“When Danica was diagnosed with cancer, she was having a lot of side effects from the chemo,” Gospic said. “Her pain seemed to settle all in her jaw.”
So, Gospic managed to convince her daughter to eat the bars she made from nuts, seeds and nut butters. They were soft, and Marincil managed to eat them.
While Marincil’s opinion of her mother’s foodstuffs was previously less than favourable (I hate that healthy fill-in-the-expletive you make, Gospic recalls her saying), she soon discovered she enjoyed the bars.
That was the beginning of what would become The Healthy Nut, a line of protein bars that Gospic launched with Marincil, whose cancer went into remission after about six months of treatment.
Now, the pair are gearing up to open a bricks-and-mortar location featuring their protein bars at 624 Leila Ave. in early February.
But in those six months of treatment, mother and immuno-compromised daughter were forced to retreat into a “bubble” as the pandemic gripped the city around them.
“I would wish everyday that it was me going through it, so I wouldn’t have to watch her suffer,” Gospic said.
To occupy their minds, the pair continued to work. Gospic focused on her protein bars and Marincil came on to market the products on social media. While Gospic said they’ve always been close, she said the two have become “inseparable.”
“She’s already called me 12 times today,” Gospic said, at one in the afternoon, to hammer home the point.
With the extra attention, the business took off and the pair decided to move it into a location of its own. At a time of economic uncertainty, as businesses fold under the pressure of pandemic restrictions, Gospic can’t help but worry a little about opening the store.
“I’ve invested a lot of my own personal money — quite a bit. But this is more important. I feel like this is a perfect time because people are more aware that they’ve got to make better choices,” she said. “The pandemic has woken people up to say that I need to make healthier choices.”
Whatever obstacles arise with the store opening, Gospic and her daughter will face them together. And after everything they’ve gone through, Gospic seems to feel she has the right person on her side.
“She has no idea how strong she is. She showed me her strength,” Gospic said. “I’m very proud of her. Very proud.”
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 204-697-7206.