Take Your Vitamins… A Round-Up of Vitamin, Supplement, and Herb Outlets in Corvallis

vitaminsAs it is with so many other things, Corvallis has a comprehensive selection of supplement stores from which to shop. But where do you start looking when it comes to your needs?

Complete Nutrition—Sporting Goods Anyone?
1705 NW 9th St.
By Lana Jones

Complete Nutrition is a friendly fat-burning, muscle-building focused supplement store on 9th Street. The staff is helpful but not pushy. It’s comparable to a GNC but with better variety. They also offer students a 22% discount.

I was greeted upon entering the store and offered assistance by a fit, upbeat employee who I’m guessing is a workout enthusiast. Complete Nutrition probably offers a pretty good employee discount.

Being a nerdy, pale, modestly in-shape writer, I felt a little out of place in this shiny shrine devoted to pumping iron but the atmosphere created by my workout-enthusiast helper was welcoming.

I said I was “just browsing,” and was free to roam the shelves although he was nearby in case I had any questions. If I were actually shopping for supplements, I probably would have had some questions. There were multiple choices in just the women’s multivitamin category. I can’t imagine what all the “Sports Nutrition” products are supposed to do.

I left with empty hands. I still have a bottle of gummy multi-vitamins to finish. I might be back, though. I’m not sure I’ll start training for any body-building competitions but the sleep section alone was intriguing.

Country Vitamins—It Even Smells Comfortable & Local
919 Northwest Circle Blvd. # E
by Sally McCoy

Country Vitamins is a locally owned, independent store. It is unassuming, tucked between Cirello’s Pizza and Devi Indian Grocery. The store has that supplement store aroma that is an odd combination of sandalwood, cumin and lavender. They claim to offer a large selection of vitamins, minerals, herbal products, teas, homeopathy, aromatherapy, flower essences, natural skincare, cosmetics, and books – my visit confirmed this.

They claim that they offer expert advice, and I noted that even if a clerk doesn’t have the information requested, they will advise researching it rather than just guessing.

On one visit, I asked a pleasant young employee about weight loss and energy supplements. She pointed me towards some raspberry ketones whose function was unknown to her but apparently highly effective. They were a prominent part of an entire wall dedicated to Dr. Oz’s suggestion empire. She was friendly in her replies and suggested that I start with diet and exercise, pointing out her own success with ketones for reducing belly fat. Hint taken.

The prices are fair compared to larger chain stores and the staff member let me know that the owner takes pride in sourcing supplements that are clean. It is a small, cozy store where a customer would feel comfortable asking some questions about uncomfortable topics.

GNC—Maybe Not Masterly, But a Jack of All Trades
2317 NW Kings Blvd.
By Sally McCoy

GNC is GNC wherever you go. Part of that sameness appeals to the desire for consistency. Running out of Creatine powder in Boise, Corvallis, or anywhere else a GNC exists poses no problem for my muscles. The supplements and design have the potential to overwhelm. Color and choice abound. But like any good store dealing in the human body, it also gives hope that fat can turn to fit with the right combination of powder and pills.

The customer service was a bit tepid and much more like a typical retail experience. The associate knew a little but not much about where the products come from or how clean they are. The bottom line seemed to be that no matter what I needed they had it, so any purchase would be a good purchase. Unlike Complete Nutrition, I did not need to take out a small loan to purchase energy supplements, but neither did I feel totally comfortable that they were the highest quality supplements possible.

Stoker’s Vita-World—Many Expired Items
310 SW 2nd St.
by Rob Goffins

Unfortunately, this is the only vitamin and supplement shop in the downtown area, which is doubly regrettable, as it presents problems the other shops do not – and some of these problems are quite concerning.

On our first visit, we noticed many expired goods, some with dates going back not only months, but years – we even noted a bottle of baby formula with an expiration date of 2005. We were concerned enough that we contacted store owner Wesley Stoker; he responded that expiration dates are “fictitious” and not valid.

On a second visit, we noted a new shelf had been set up for expired items that one could buy if they wished and that the baby formula had been removed from the store’s stock. There were still many expired items in the general stock, however. None of the other vitamin or supplement stores reviewed were found to have expired items in stock.

This shop did not seem as clean as the others and prices seemed in line with places like the co-op and other stores.