Back To Basics Undergoing A Not-So-Basic Expansion

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Back to Basics in now in the middle of a not-so-basic expansion.

Gary and Chiryl Cole, owners of the Payson-based business which sells health foods, vitamin supplements, and bulk teas and spices by the ounce in a general-store atmosphere opened a Globe spin-off in June.

They're planning another for Safford, which they hope will open in January. They're "looking at" Chandler, Gilbert, Wickenberg and Pinetop-Lakeside. They're thinking of franchising the operation.

And they're also "in the process" of talking with Rim Gym owner Keven Rush about opening a juice bar in his new location: the old but revamped Wal-Mart building, which is being turned into a mini-mall by contractor George Harrison that's also slated for a January kick-off.

"We do have a juice bar in our Globe store, because we have the room down there, and it's doing very well," Gary Cole said. "We don't have the room in our Payson store, though, and that's why we've decided to take a good look at Keven's offer.

"We are really pushing on this, so it's possible that we could be open by November. But we have to jump through all the political hoops, so we can't yet say for sure," Cole said.

"We can benefit from Keven's members, and likewise, he realizes that he'll benefit from our customers. He doesn't want a part of the juice bar as far as profit; he just wants a juice bar available to his members."

The Coles' son, Steven, will be "in full charge" of the juice bar, Cole said, in addition to being a part-time manager of the Payson and Globe Back to Basics stores.

The Coles have owned the Payson store for 8 years. Originally a single-person operation, it now has 12 employees on the payroll.

That growth has given the Coles not only the confidence to expand, but to look into the possibility of franchising the store nationally.

"In the last two to three years, we've had a lot of customers come into our store from out-of-state, and their reaction was, 'I have never been in a store like this ... Would you open up a store like this in Kansas or Texas or whatever?' So franchising is in the near future, too. It's just a matter of getting the right people lined up."

Another "dream" now on the drawing board for development within the next two years, Cole said, is to create a Back to Basics Health Center in Payson, "which will always be our corporate headquarters."

That project would combine, in a single complex, retail and health food sales, a chiropractor, homeopathic doctor and massage therapist, "perhaps in the Wal-Mart center, also," Cole said.

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