New owners of Naturally Good Things in Libby, Marc and Tama . Photo by Brian Baxter, The Montanian.
New owners add Naturally Good Things in store
By Brian Baxter
Marc and Tama Lutsko have recently become the new owners and managers of Naturally Good Things. The health food store has been in business in Libby since 1995. Beloved former owners Mike and Georgine Powers actually first approached Marc and Tama about fourteen years ago wanting them to buy the store. The Lutsko’s were some of the best customers at that time and always enjoyed the convenience of buying their bulk foods and spices at the store.
Marc has resided in the area for over four decades, and worked in the woods doing land and forest surveying. Tama comes from Wolf Point, Mont., and has two decades living in the proximity of Libby. Tama’s background is in inventory and statistical analysis. Marc and Tama met in Libby and were married here in 2004. The couple did not feel they were ready to settle down into retail 14 years ago, but now feel they are at a point in their lives where they can enjoy the regular schedule and roots that operating a retail store can give.
With those thoughts in mind, as well as the fact that they did not want to see the store close, the couple purchased the store last fall. They have been working diligently to spruce up, modernize, and make additions to the store that will be beneficial to their customers.
In our area, the connection between nature and ourselves is omnipresent. If the facts be known, that connection is likely the single most important reason many of us have come here, and also the main reason why those of us from here, stay. We tune in with nature in every way, in diverse ways, and in the most intimate ways. It is a calling, and a tie to the good life. It brings us happiness, and is naturally good.
The Lutsko’s are taking over the reins of Naturally Good Things by the process of fusion. They are keeping the same name of the store, thinking about the perspective of their customers, and considering the lifestyles of folks in the extreme northwest corner of Kootenai Country and our surrounding areas. When asked about their approach to the new undertaking, Marc said, “Much of what we offer coincides with how we’ve lived our lives. We both enjoy the self-sufficient lifestyle that includes hunting, fishing, growing and gathering.”
Tama said, “We will try to offer as many locally grown and sourced products as possible. And we appreciate the fact that bulk foods not only can be a money saver but they also offer the ability for us to reduce our environmental impact.”
Tama and Marc are fully aware that consumers are super-educated about health concerns and trends today, and state that many people come in the store knowing exactly what they want. They say that they strive to have those types of products available for them. They believe that health food stores give folks the opportunity to use natural products to assist them with their health and well being, and know they often find satisfying results from products that come at a lower financial cost with minimal side effects.
The couple knows of course, that Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind and they have seen increased traffic as a result of that problem. They have even had customers from out of state come in looking for immune support products that their hometown stores are out of, and the Lutsko’s say that both elderberry and zinc are in high demand right now.
The new owners will stay stocked with immune system support supplements as long as they are able to get them from their suppliers. Tama added that they have also stocked up on aloe vera gel and essential oils for those who have isopropyl alcohol and wish to make their own hand sanitizer.
Marc and Tama will continue most past practices that seemed to work, while bringing in some new concepts. Core products will remain a staple, and everyday is senior day at Naturally Good Things, but be sure to ask as the couple are not going to try to guess any ages. Those aged 55 and older will receive 10% off all regular priced supplements if purchased with cash or a check. They will also continue the practice of offering $1 Saturday lattes, hours on Saturday being from noon until 4 pm.
The business will continue to do custom orders, is set up to take EBT cards, and will continue to be the local Culligan water distributor. New on the docket are the gravity bins with fresh, clean scoops which will increase the convenience and cleanliness of purchasing their bulk products. They currently stock close to 400 bulk foods and spices and are consistently adding to that number each week, as well as bringing in more specialty foods. They are constantly looking to expand their gluten-free product lines.
More good news is that they just had a commercial freezer installed and plan to stock locally grown beef and other frozen items soon. For spring, the new owners are looking forward to offering their fresh fruit smoothie menu updated with some new choices.
When asked by The Montanian what personally makes you the happiest about being the proprietors of this business, Tama said, “I don’t think we’ll ever grow tired of walking in the door and smelling the intense spice smells in the store.”
Marc added to the explanation when he said, “When Tama was a little girl growing up on a farm in the 1970’s, her mom traded their extra produce and eggs at a health food store just like this. She remembers the intense aroma that hit her when you walked into that store and it started a lifelong love of spice shops and health food stores to this day.”
When you walk into Naturally Good Things, take a deep breath and let the smile come upon your face. Then take a glance over at the new owners. Most likely they’ll be smiling and feeling it too.
FVCC cancels classes and events; March 16-29
In response to the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak, Flathead Valley Community College is canceling all classes and events from March 16-29 on the Kalispell and Lincoln County campuses. The Early Childhood Center will be closed, and all Continuing Education classes are canceled during this time.
FVCC campus offices will remain open.
FVCC campuses will resume classes on March 30 using remote delivery. More information will be made available to students in the coming days.
Submitted by Jill Seigmund
meeting and closes offices
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to evolve, Flathead Electric Cooperative wants to inform members of their plans to ensure continuity of service and wellbeing of employees and members.
Flathead Electric Cooperative’s Board of Trustees has cancelled the 2020 Annual Meeting in response to the state of emergency in the nation due to COVID-19.
The Cooperative’s mail-in election will still take place. FEC members will receive ballots the week of March 23. Completed ballots should be mailed in the pre-addressed enclosed envelop to Survey & Ballot Systems, the Co-op’s independent election processing company. Ballots should not be returned to Flathead Electric Co-op office. Ballots received at the SBS office on or before April 9 by 5:00 p.m. will be counted.
Also in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately, the Co-op’s offices in Kalispell and Libby are temporarily closed to the public. While the offices are closed, FEC members can utilize one of the Co-op’s other fee-free options to pay their electric bill or manage their account including payment kiosks and drop boxes at both the Kalispell and Libby locations, drive-thru open until 5:30 p.m. in Kalispell, online payments through the FEC website or mobile app, the pay-by-phone system (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 406-751-1839 or 877-761-4637). For assistance with any of these services, members can call 406-751-4483.
Flathead Electric Cooperative members service representatives will be available throughout this time to assist members who are impacted by the pandemic situation. Those members are asked to reach out to Flathead Electric Cooperative if they need bill assistance.
Flathead Electric Cooperative’s critical business operations are expected to continue without interruption. With questions or concerns, members can contact Flathead Electric Cooperative at 406-751-4483.
Submitted by Katie Pfennigs