Since 1993, Optimum Health Vitamins has served the Edmonton area as a family owned and operated collection of specialty health stores. The inception of Kolya, our sister company, in 2002 furthers our reach as a prime source of plant-based and organic skincare & beauty products for the Edmonton area. Over the years, our humble beginnings blossomed into the passionate locally-operated community we are today. Read on…
It all begins with a shocking event where John finds himself in and out of the hospital following a life-threatening car crash. After 17 surgeries and countless hours in recovery, he devotes his time researching nutrition and herbal medicine. This is the beginning of John’s life trajectory in natural health.
John graduates with his BSc specializing in foods and nutrition. He subsequently starts nutritional counselling where, 30 years later, he still works with some of his earliest clients.
John opens the Optimum Health Vitamins flagship store inside Debaji’s Fresh Market. This 400 square foot space is now the staff break room at our Southside location, as Optimum later came to occupy the entire 4800+ square foot space.
This same year Nicola, Kolya's founder, begins her studies in aromatherapy and herbalism. She later completes a diploma in massage therapy, and later still, a degree in anthropology and cultural medicine. This was a few years before she and John would cross paths…
The second Optimum Health location opens in Sherwood Park and Nicola applies for the job that covers these new shifts. Her initial interaction with John, Nicola recalls with a smile, was uncharacteristically aloof; John was hesitant about hiring university students who were notorious for cancelling shifts when the workload got hard, but Nicola was quick to impress him when she explained her work ethic and qualifications in the industry. Nicola left the store that day with a job, and John would later share that he knew from those early moments that he may marry her one day. They begin dating later that year.
The Oliver Square location opens to service downtown and Northern Edmonton, now known as Unity Square.
True to John’s original “gut-feeling”, John and Nicola get married and Optimum Health evolves into their family-run business.
* During this year John becomes a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine. This further hones his craft in counselling people towards optimum health. Many who know John have gone dizzy with his excitable talks of inflammation, mitochondria and disease- which all started with the IFM!
* Around this time, Nicola discovers Dr. Hauschka and the world of extraordinary plant-based skincare. After seeing true transformation with her own skin - she is compelled to offer and educate their customers about safe and effective skincare that works with the physiology of the body, rather than unravelling the efforts they are devoting to their internal health. Nicola was enchanted by organic beauty long before it was popular, when choices of efficacious natural skincare were few and far between. It is here the seed for Kolya was planted and this love affair continues to this day.
Life takes a profound turn (as is always the case when a first child is born) when Nicola & John welcome their daughter Tia into the world. It is time to learn how to juggle an argent entrepreneurial life with the depth and beauty of raising a family.
Over the many years, John repeatedly compiled the same group of products together to help manage people's inflammation. Customers kept coming back because the combo was successful, despite being cumbersome as each of the products were sold separately. To make it easier - John put it all together into one formulation - Opti A.I. Extra - which is still extremely popular today. This is where the Optimum Health Vitamins line was born.
Nicola opens the doors to Kolya Naturals Day Spa on Whyte Avenue, Edmonton, one of the first natural skincare spas in Alberta.
The family grows once more with the birth of their second child, Sebastian. To better support two children and two growing companies, they decide to amalgamate Kolya Naturals and Optimum Health into the same 109th st. location they still share today.
Nicola completes a three-year program in plant spirit medicine. She is inspired to expand Kolya’s offerings by specializing in raw botanicals such as organic herbs, essential oils, flower essences, carrier oils, etc. This is the birth of Kolya’s Botanical Apothecary & Learning Kitchen and the Earth’s Aromatique line. To this day, the Earth’s Aromatique brand remains a unique name under Kolya.
Kolya opens its online store. Following Kolya’s steps, Optimum Health’s online store hits the internet in 2020. This would quickly become a necessity for the local Edmonton community as the COVID-19 pandemic hit a mere month later.
Nicola, John and the entire team, having always held a deep passion for sustainability and reintegration with the rhythms of nature, expand the apothecary with a REFILL STATION!
Optimum Health and Kolya, still devoted to serving their local Edmontonians, decide to merge their web-stores so as to offer a single one-stop shop for natural wellness, skincare, vitamins, and ingredients to the larger online community.
The adventure continues…