Whole Health Center, Abingdon, VA

611 East Main Street
Abingdon VA 24210

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Whole Health Center

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(276) 628-3170
Open: Mon - Sat 9am - 6pm
By Danielle Bussone

by Danielle Bussone

If you find yourself  low on organic supplies while tooling down Interstate 81, pull off at exit 19 in Abingdon, Virginia and stock up! Just a couple minutes from the Interstate on Main Street is a small family owned health food store called Whole Health Center. You can find organic bulk items, some fresh locally grown vegetables, packaged items like Bob’s Mills grains, coconut oils, date sugar, Braggs Amino Acids, Coconut oil, essential oils, soaps and the ubiquitous shelves of supplements.

Sean and Donna Bossie bought Whole Health Center two years ago from, Charlie, its former owner of 27 years. They had been visiting Abingdon from North Conway, New Hampshire, where they owned a coop. Their daughter had moved to Abingdon where she teaches school. The winters in New Hampshire on White Mountain were as brutal as the name suggests. Their children were grown and moved away and there didn’t seem to be much tying them to their home in the north. When Charlie commented one day, “You know, if you ever want to move closer to those grandbabies…  I’m thinking of selling if you are thinking of possibly buying,” the wheels begin to turn in the Bossie’s brains. After a year of negotiating through snail mail (Charlie was not computer savvy), Whole Health Center became theirs and Abingdon, Virginia became home.

The first step was to create some kind of manageable inventory system, which took some time. Now they are expanding and bringing in new items. “As far as plant-based,” says Sean,  “Whole Health Center carries items like Vegenaise, a lot of the Food For Life sauces,  vegan seafood, crabcakes, fishsticks from Sohpie’s Kitchen which are fantastic, vegan alfredo sauces, marinara sauces, egg replacers, all kinds of different selections in that regard.  Anything you would typically find dairy in, we have a vegetarian option for it. We carry fresh veggies. We carry a lot of local produce to support the farmers market folks, that’s big. This gives them another local outlet for days when the farmers markets are not operating. Also, sometimes the vendors can’t make it to the market because they are selling at another venue.”

Whole Health Center is handy for those traveling down the interstate because they can stop by and buy fresh locally grown produce. Sean and Donna  try to sell only organic but some of the local farmers can’t afford to pay for the organic certification, though they use organic practices. “We will buy from them,” says Sean.

What is rewarding is that Sean sees more and more people interested in whole foods. The community is obviously interested in them, looking for them and wanting more of them. Sean speaks at the local community colleges on topics like vegetarianism and other aspects of health in an ongoing effort to educate a country-ham-and-eggs-eating society. Progress is slow but steady.

If you need something green to fuel you on your travels while you are filling up your automobile, give Whole Health Center of Abingdon, VA a try.

Co-founder and editor of Veggin’ Out and About, Danielle writes restaurant reviews, profiles and interviews of people making a difference in the plant-based community. She is currently writing a cookbook for vegans called, “Time For Change: Whole Foods For Whole Health.”

Danielle’s region is SW Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina and anywhere she happens to stop for sustenance along the road. Contact Danielle  directly to share your restaurant finds, to make comments or just to say hello.


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1 Comment

  1. Laura Blankenship

    Yes, the Whole Health Center is awesome! As an Abingdon native, I’m very happy that we have a store specializing in healthy and alternative food and other supplies. Growing up, this is where my dad would always buy pine nuts for his pesto as they are the most reasonable deal around. So I have done the same. As I’ve gotten older and become more interested in healthy and whole foods–and alternative hygiene products–I’ve poked around in there a little more and I am discovering just how much the Whole Health Center has to offer. I love the fact that they carry local foods. (I used to get the Baker Homestead Goat Cheese all the time before I decided to stop eating cheese at home.) They even carry fluoride- and paraben-free toothpaste, as well as the Diva Cup! (They also have Diatomaceous Earth!!)

    Everyone there is very helpful if you have any questions about what is best to buy for your needs. I go there about once every 2 weeks to stock up on goodies. I buy nutritional yeast (very reasonably priced in pre-packaged bulk baggies), Chipotle Vegenaise (my new favorite spicy spread on anything–take THAT, Sriracha!!–suggested by Nicole Dyer, one of the awesome employees who also manages the farmer’s market), and in the past I’ve bought their Field Roast, a delicious (and cunningly deceptive!) alternative to meat for those who still want to enjoy the taste of sausages. (But gluten-sensitive shoppers beware, its primary ingredient is vital wheat gluten. :-/)

    I went in today for some clove oil, grapeseed oil, and other fun stuff, and as always, had a very pleasant experience. A couple times I’ve been in I’ve had questions about which products to buy, and Sean has always been very helpful, taking me right to the products and explaining the virtues of each product if there are multiple options to choose from (which there usually are).

    The only thing I wish they had more of is bulk foods. I know that recently they have begun to offer more options and I hope that they are selling well so that they continue to expand their bulk foods section. I am thinking specifically of quinoa, which I can’t afford to buy at $7-$9 a pound (in the box there), but I’m thinking if they offered it in bulk, it might be more comparable to that at Kroger for $4.49-$5.59/lb. That being said, I shop at The Whole Health Center when I can for specialty items I can’t get elsewhere AND for items that are CLOSE in price to what you can get at the chain stores. (Garden of Eat’n blue corn tortilla chips, for instance, are only a few cents more at The Whole Health Center than grocery stores, so I say, what the heck!) I love to support this store and plan to continue to do so for as long as I live here.

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