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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A healthy family tradition at Family Health Center

By DENNIS HINES

SYCAMORE – Susan Wallner and David Butts were raised to live a healthy lifestyle. Now they’re encouraging others to do the same.

Wallner and Butts operate the Family Health Center in Sycamore along with their mother, Lorena Butts. Wallner said her mother taught her and her brother about the importance of eating healthy when they were children.

“We were always raised to take vitamins,” Wallner said. “Our mom grew up from our grandmother, who was very much into herbs. So she planted a seed, and it kind of took off.”

The family has owned Family Health Center for about three years. They purchased the business from the Long family in March 2005. Butts said he has been wanting to operate a health-related business for several years.

“This has always been a passion of mine, so I used to always go up to the former owners and say, ‘If you ever have an interest in selling, I would like to be the first one on your list for possibly purchasing it,’” he said. “So when that came along, I talked to Sue about it, and she said, ‘You know, I would like to have something of my own and get out of this corporate world deal.’ So we made the joint decision to purchase the existing business.”

Wallner said after working in marketing for 16 years, she now enjoys operating a business with her brother.

“Certainly, we have our moments. We are brother and sister,” Wallner said. “We do bicker, but for the most part we both have the same vision and the same passion.”

Sycamore Health Center offers several types of nutritional items, including vitamin supplements, protein drinks, protein supplements and weight-loss products. Wallner said they also educate their customers about how the products can help improve their health.

“The medical world manages and treats diseases, where we like to do preventative maintenance and help the body heal itself through food,” Wallner said. “So what we like to tell people is that we’re just agreeing with God. Genesis talks about how God gave us every fruit-bearing seed, and we use those seeds as food and medicine.”

The Family Health Center offers various types of health-related services, including an aqua chi footbath, ear candling, a FAR infrared sauna, live blood analysis and massages. Butts and Wallner also publish newsletters and host training seminars and guest speakers to educate residents about healthcare issues.

“We try to make this shopping experience very different than anywhere else,” Wallner said. “We like to have people leave with lots of information and literature, so they can review it and make their own health decisions.”

The owners recently moved the business from downtown Sycamore to 1170 DeKalb Ave. Wallner said she feels the new location will help attract more customers.

“As quaint and charming as downtown Sycamore is, we’re finding that patterns have shifted,” Wallner said. “People are not shopping downtown the way that they used to, so we wanted to come to a place where there’s more visibility and more traffic.”

Butts said the store is now located near several businesses that receive a lot of traffic.

“We feel really comfortable in this area. We’re right next to Cardinal Fitness, which is fantastic,” David said. “It’s a good draw for people.”

Butts and Wallner are both certified natural health professionals. They received the recognition last year after several hours of training.

“We’ve received a number of hours of classroom study and hands-on training in various fields of the natural health world,” Wallner said. “So that really gives us access to a broader range of products and a broader range of knowledge.”

The brother and sister team also has been recognized as enzyme experts by Enzymedica.

“Enzymes are used digestively and therapeutically in the body,” Wallner said. “So enzymes are one of our favorite topics to talk about.”

They have also passed down their knowledge about health and nutrition to their children. Wallner said one day their children may become involved with the family business.

“My 12-year-old daughter is very in tune with natural health,” Wallner said. “I keep telling my daughter maybe she will become a massage therapist or a chiropractor. Who knows, maybe down the road, our daughters will inherit this.”

Lorena said she is pleased that her children are following her example when it comes to nutrition.

“You guys are raising your children like you guys were raised,” Lorena said. “I raised you as carefully as I could to keep you healthy.”

Lorena said living a healthy lifestyle has helped her remain active.

“I’m as old as dirt, and I’m going full force,” she said.

Family Health Center
Where: 1170 DeKalb Ave, Suite 111 in Sycamore
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Contact: (815) 895-8151