Today’s post is all about one of my favourite stores, the beautifully curated Health Hut.
Health Hut is an all natural beauty and lifestyle shop with locations in Toronto and Port Carling, Muskoka. Health Hut has had an organic evolution and now fits in perfectly within the evolving landscape of natural care, while offering a unique experience that stands out from the rest.
Health Hut began in the spring of 2011 in Muskoka, Ontario. Owner and Nutritionist Tara Miller, had recently graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto. She was spending the summer at her family cottage in Muskoka when she realized that there was nowhere close by that she could buy a natural bar of soap, biodegradable cleaning supplies or healthy staples like hemp hearts or chia seeds. She realized the need for such a place and decided to create it. She used her resources and converted an old neglected ice cream shop that had been in her family for generations, into a super tiny health food store. “The concept was simple”, Tara says “ and people were excited!”
What started as a small health food store, quickly expanded that first summer as Tara began adding some harder-to-find, coveted skincare and haircare items. The store shifted from a basic health shop to a destination for luxury green beauty products. Tara opened up the online shop after that first summer, at first offering only two brands!
Over the next few years, the green beauty industry evolved and with that The Health Hut expanded further. Tara started bringing in make-up, hair treatments, body care and high-end skin care lines. Tara describes this time as “exciting- it was obvious there no longer had to be a compromise for using clean, natural products”. Tara notes that the products coming out were as effective, or more so, than conventional products and had “fantastic packaging and branding”. Natural beauty and body care products were quickly loosing their stigma as being “crunchy”, or “ hippie”. Although not a stigma Tara tries to stay away from, the new products were now appealing to a wider range of people, expanding the green beauty industry in a great way.
Tara maintained the seasonal store in Muskoka and developed a large and growing customer base. The season would come to a quick end and after Thanksgiving Tara would return to Toronto where she ran the online store out of her one bedroom apartment. Tara was quickly growing out of her home office and was eager to share her finds with Toronto- and Toronto was ready for it!
Health Hut officially opened it’s Toronto doors in the spring of 2015. This new opening brought further expansion as Tara began introducing more lifestyle products like Swell water bottles, locally made bags and totes, handmade note cards, blankets and turkish towels. Health Hut evolved from a small health food store to what it is now; a natural lifestyle shop with a focus on high quality, locally sourced goods.
This space at 171 Harbord street is small, but reflective of the original hut in Muskoka, which is just perfect. I warn you though, as you walk into the bright, fresh space you will immediately want everything inside. Owner Tara Miller has done an amazing job at bringing in the best of natural beauty, body care and lifestyle items. Tara has also created the perfect aesthetic to her space and hits the perfect balance of relaxing, yet uplifting.
The best part of Health Hut is that it is owned and run by such an amazing person, who is so deeply passionate about what she does. Tara says “ I am in love with everyday that I spend at Health Hut. I love finding new lines, connecting with the passion-filled makers and then passing on the beauty and intricacy of their amazing products to my customers”. Tara notes “ I even love the tedious tasks like bookkeeping!”- I mean, who else can really say that!?
I know from my experience as a customer, colleague and friend, that Tara offers her warmth and expertise to every single customer that walks through her door. Her passion radiations through her space and through each interaction. This offers a truly unique and individualized customer experience, that makes Health Hut a very unique place to visit and shop.
I asked what the future holds for Tara and for Health Hut to which she answered “I am hoping to further expand and one day being able to offer these products to more neighbourhoods and smaller communities in Canada”. I know I am not the only one who is excited for this and to see what happens next!
To stay posted on Health Hut happenings check out Instagram.