HOMEGROWN: Sunshine Health Foods

By Carlie Kollath | NEMS Daily Journal

Sunshine Health Foods

Owners: Mark and Patti Welch, other family members
Est.: 1981
Address: 113 S. Industrial Road, Tupelo
Phone: (662) 844-1560
Employees: 5
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Facebook: Sunshine Health Foods
Primary business: Sales of sports nutrition items, supplements, vitamins, natural cosmetics and specialty foods.
Advice: “Spend as much money on your existing customers as you do trying to get new customers.”

Mark Welch’s family opened Sunshine Health Foods 30 years ago.
“My mother was sick and had a lot of food allergies,” he said. “That’s how it started and it all snowballed.”
The store has employees that specialize in the various categories. For example, Patti Welch, Mark’s wife, has food allergies and she specializes in helping with the gluten-free and wheat-free food products. Plus, she helps female customers with their vitamin and supplement needs.
Mark Welch is a former Mr. Mississippi and a professional power lifter. He focuses on helping customers with sports nutrition and supplements.
“We give a lot of personal help,” he said. “A lot of it is from personal experience. … We don’t try to rush you in and out.”
Sunshine also gives samples and will exchange products if customers aren’t happy with them.
In addition to specialty foods and sports nutrition, the store sells natural cosmetics, shampoo, cleaning supplies, grain and juice. Plus, it sells energy bars and reference books.
“I’ve had customers who have been coming in here for 30 years,” Mark Welch said. “I feel like they are my friends.”
– Carlie Kollath