History of Vita Health
History of Vita Health Fresh Market
One of Canada’s first health food stores
Vita Health began in 1936 as a small mail order company selling various herbs and patented medicines, chiefly to a small group of European immigrants who maintained their traditional use of herbal products. Under G.W. Seier, Vita Health’s founder, the mail order business grew throughout the 1950s and 60s. The popularity of Vita Health’s natural remedies had by this time spread from the core group of European immigrants to local clientele. Downtown Winnipeg was much improved with the creation of the first Vita Health retail store, located at 220 Portage Ave.
In the 1960s, Vita Health began to package and wholesale herbals and vitamins throughout Canada. Vita Health’s manufacturing facility was opened in Manitoba in 1974. It is here where the still popular VHC vitamins and minerals and HSC herbals were developed.
In 1971, John Holtmann began working for G.W. Seier and the family business. He started out in manufacturing, continued in purchasing and eventually became the national sales manager for Vita Health. In 1979, Mr. Seier transferred control of the Vita Health company, both manufacturing and retail, to his children. Both sides of the company continued to grow and prosper and the manufacturing division emerged as one of the largest providers of supplements for the Health Food and Mass Markets in Canada.
The Vita Health retail stores continued to flourish and grew to 7 stores in Winnipeg, including the flagship store located at 296 Kennedy Street. In 1997, Vita Health Company was sold to Leiner Health Products of Carson, California. In 1998, John Holtmann, G.W. Seier’s son-in-law, purchased the retail stores to keep them as a family-owned company operating as Vita Health “Natural Food Stores of Manitoba”, now Vita Health Fresh Market. Since then Vita Health Fresh Market has continued to lead the pace in Manitoba’s highly competitive natural health market.
Getting Bigger and Fresher…
Carrying forward into the third generation, John’s son Mathew Holtmann was appointed President of Vita Health Fresh Market in 2011. Mathew started as Corporate Grocery Manager and managed the expanding organic grocery in the new Fresh Market stores. Since 2007 Vita Health has opened 4 Fresh Markets, which offer full service organic groceries, supplements, herbs, natural beauty and green household products.
A key to Vita Health’s success lies in remaining true to the personable and dedicated business practices of the store’s founder, G.W. Seier. We have been able to do this by remaining a family business.