Shopping at The Herb Import Company (4901 Canal St., 488-4889; 711 St. Peter St., 525-4372; 712 Adams St., 861-4644; 1331 Englewood Drive, Slidell, 985-643-8007; www.herbimport.com) is a stimulating, multisensory experience. Paintings adorn the walls, and mingled aromas of incense and fragrant oils contribute to the store's relaxing atmosphere.
"We like to have people come in, shop and enjoy themselves, and not necessarily get in and get out," says Tyler Coats, project manager at the Canal Street location. "We just like people to be relaxed and feel like they can come here for whatever they need. Even if we don't carry it, we'll do what we can to get it to them."
Customers' needs are met by a vast variety of merchandise, including snacks, drinks, bulk and live herbs, herbal supplements, teas, detox products, handmade soaps, magazines, comic books, magic and Voodoo items, apparel, and a wide selection of pipes and tobacco products. This diverse collection of items draws an equally diverse clientele. "We have customers from A to Z, every age, sex and race," Coats says. "There is absolutely no stereotype at all." Two herbalists are on staff at all times to answer questions.
The Herb Import Company has been around for close to 15 years and now has four Louisiana locations, including the newly opened Uptown store, as well as two out-of-state locations in Kentucky and California.
Herb Import will soon re-open its original Mid-City location at 5055 Canal St., which is being rebuilt after being destroyed in a fire. Slated for an October opening, the store will feature new products and a coffee shop with a rooftop veranda overlooking the neighboring cemetery.
Coats believes the company's success is based on great customer service, friendly atmosphere, competitive pricing and knowledge. In order to continue to build their customer base, Coats says, "We are trying to appeal to every person we can reach."