Chief Medical Officer is not a title usually associated with grocery stores, even though it’s the place where people every day make purchases affecting their nutrition.
But Heinen’s, which first opened in 1929 as a Shaker Heights butcher shop, and theno set the supermarket standard in the 1930s by combining the butcher shop with other grocery items, has always been known to be an industry trendsetter.
Dr. Todd Pesek, MDIn fact, Jeff and Tom Heinen, with their 19 Heinen’s stores in Northeast Ohio and four stores in the Chicago area, is the first supermarket chain in the United States to bring on a chief medical officer—Dr. Todd Pesek.
“It’s revolutionary, but it’s also common sense—a doctor in a grocery store,” says Pesek, who is a holistic physician. “Jeff and Tom Heinen and I share a vision for the future, with a doctor in every grocery store.”
Pesek says the idea for the nutrition center started small. “At a time when a lot of grocery stores were putting pharmacies in their stores, we wanted to put in a health center,” he recalls. “It started with two shelves with items like kale chips and flax crackers, and now it’s a 72-square-foot, staffed natural pharmacy with natural supplements and vitamins.”
The Nutrition Center is staffed with wellness consultants and registered dieticians. Additionally, the center offers fee-based services through Pesek’s VitalHealth Partners. Calling food “medicine” and the grocery store the “pharmacy of the future,” Pesek says the staff will consult with clients on whole foods, supplements, and vitamin therapies.
“For the most part, we find people enjoy the simplicity of it and how easy and delicious it can be to eat healthy,” he says.
The Personalized Nutrition Center at the Mayfield Village Heinen’s, 860 SOM Center Road, is open Tuesday and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Center is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Appointments can be made by calling (440) 571-0006.