At first it seemed a bit narcissistic to to get my own domain name. After all, what have I got to show the world? Then, the more I added, the more saw just how much content there actually is – A YouTube Channel with over 40 videos, half a million views, and almost a thousand subscribers, my horse training blog, TrainingJessie, with over 300 posts and 10,000 page views, a podcast, The Whoa Podcast About Horses and Horsemanship, with over thirty episodes and 10,000 downloads from 40 countries, and my photography with everything from modeling portfolios to action photography. Hey, I can fill up a website quite nicely, thank you very much. Now, let me tell you a little bit more about myself (and if you want to leave here and just go look at the pretty pictures, I’ll understand)…
For the last thirty years I’ve been the owner and operator (along with my wife Ranae), of Cay Health Foods in Bakersfield, Ca. We sell vitamins, herbs, and natural foods. We are called a Specialty Market. It’s a difficult business being a specialty-market-direct-to-the-consumer operation. First, we have the competition from the internet. Right behind them come the big chains like Costco and Walmart, followed by the big mail order houses, not to mention the other local stores. Every one of them are tough competitors. We have a customer base that comprises the most most demanding, yet widely diverse demographics of any industry, everything from gluten-free to Paleo to the latest fad Dr. Oz might be peddling on his TV show.
But we have survived. For thirty years we’ve maintained our Mom-and-Pop innocence in an old fashioned store in downtown Bakersfield. A store where someone (me or Ranae) calls you by your first name when you walk in. A store with wooden shelves. A store where folks come in and talk politics and weather as much as health and nutrition. A store with a dog named Max. A store where you don’t have to ask to see the owner, because that’s the person standing in front of you. A store where you might see one bottle of some obscure herbal remedy on the shelf only because Mrs. A., who has shopped here since Reagan was president, comes in twice a year and swears that’s the only thing that “really” works for her migraines. A store where you’re comfortable enough to talk about your family vacation, a child’s graduation, or the loss of someone you love.
Over the years we’ve built lasting relationships with many of our customers. Observing how they not only manage their health, but their lives, has taught me many things. Their openness to share values, philosophies, personal and business insights has profoundly shaped my own life. I am very lucky.
Through those thirty years I’ve had many interests and the store has helped fund many endeavors into photography, horses, dog training, woodworking, computers, and podcasting. When you own a small store like ours you can’t really get away for a two week vacation, so you find little islands of time to piece together, and enjoy the occasional three-day weekend when it comes around.
So, now all my “stuff” is in one place. There will be more. This is just the beginning. It’s more for my edification for sure, but maybe others will find it at least pleasing to the eye. I hope you feel comfortable enough to look around and find something you like.