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Health | Suzanna K. Lourie

Multimedia Journalist | Travel Writer | Content Strategist

Posts tagged ‘Health’

In the Biz: Saratoga Springs to Welcome New Health Foods Store

Originally Published in the Saratogian: December 18, 2011. Click here to read online.




There’s a new business in town for the health-conscious consumers of Saratoga Springs.

This January, Greenfield resident Tina Bakkalapulo will open For Earth’s Sake, a new natural foods store and eco-friendly boutique at 120 West Ave. next to the Fortunate Cup café.

With signs in place and products in stock, Bakkalapulo is ready to open, but unfortunately building construction has forced her to delay the unveiling of For Earth’s Sake until after the holidays.

“It’s disappointing,” Bakkalapulo said. “I have some really cool gifts I hoped to offer for the holidays, but I’m okay with it. We’ll be open soon.”

Bakkalapulo won’t let the last-minute frustrations interfere with the excitement of opening her dream business, a family-owned natural foods shop designed as an extension of the owner’s healthy habits.
“Health food is my passion. It’s how I live — very organic and natural,” Bakkalapulo said. “I imagined a store I would want to shop at — somewhere you could walk in, grab dinner, buy a pair of awesome earrings and grab my skincare products and supplements all at the same time.”

For Earth’s Sake will reflect that one-stop shopping philosophy with a variety of products, including local meats and dairy, eco-friendly gifts and all-natural cosmetics — such a range of goods that Bakkalapulo never expected to carry them all when she first planned the store.

“I was just going to do a health foods store with vitamins, supplements and natural foods, but then I started getting into the cosmetic end of it,” she said. “I gravitated toward how important it is to use natural cosmetics and skincare, and from there it just sort of morphed into something bigger.”

The shop will carry brands of all-natural skincare and cosmetics such as CLEAN cosmetics by Mineral Fusion — with no products more than $29 — and a line for teens called Good For You Girls.

“The cosmetics look just like mainstream makeup — it’s all beautiful stuff without the harsh chemicals,” Bakkalapulo said.


As the mother of two girls, Bakkalapulo is an advocate against the “cancer-causing agents” often found in drugstore beauty products. She will carry nail polish, perfume and lip gloss, with at least two lines geared toward young girls ages 11 and older, at For Earth’s Sake.

Like its cosmetics, all For Earth’s Sake products stay true to the store’s name by treading gently on the environment, including many boutique items that give back with each purchase.

“I started thinking if I was going to sell any retail items I want to be sure they are sustainable and recycled, so I started looking into those kinds of gifts,” Bakkalapulo said. “We carry Sprout watches, which are made out of corn resin and are the coolest-looking watches. They look like Rolexes, but everything is made from wood and every time you buy one, they plant a tree.”

Although other eco-friendly products such as recycled purses and handmade jewelry will also be available, For Earth’s Sake is a health foods store at heart.

In addition to vitamins and supplements, there will be bulk foods, organic groceries, natural frozen foods and gluten-free products, in addition to as many locally sourced items, including meat and dairy products, as Bakkalapulo can manage.

“I’ll offer as much as I can from our local farmers,” she said. “I’m a huge supporter of our local farms and the hard work they do.”

Since moving to the area three years ago, Bakkalapulo has grown to love the land and community around the city and feels confident it is the perfect home for a business like For Earth’s Sake.

“There are a lot of people in Saratoga who are health conscious and concerned about the earth and who recycle,” she said. “I think it’s going to go really well.”

For more information, call 306-6655 or go to ForEarthsSake.com.

For more business news, check out the “In the Biz” blog at inthebizsaratoga.blogspot.com.

In the Biz: Feral CrossFit Gym Wants to Pump You Up at High Rock Avenue Facility

Originally Published in the Saratogian: December 11, 2011. Click here to read online. 


SARATOGA SPRINGS — College friends Noah Milstein and Jayson Ball went from workout buddies to business partners in September when they opened Feral CrossFit, a unique strength-training facility.

Although the atypical gym has been flying somewhat under the radar, Milstein and Ball have seen their client base build steadily as more people in the area come to learn and understand what the CrossFit philosophy is all about.

“This is the same training and methodology that the actors did for the movie ‘300,’ ” Milstein said. “The goal is to create people who are maximally fit, so in theory, they should have the capacity to perform any given physical task.”

Founder Greg Glassman opened the first CrossFit gym in 1995. Since then, affiliates have been popping up around the country and the CrossFit regimen has become one of the principal strength and conditioning programs for police agencies, military personnel and professional athletes.

CrossFit gives its franchise gyms flexibility in programming, exercises and class offerings, so it’s rare any two are identical.

Unlike the Albany CrossFit, which owns multiple gyms, including one in Clifton Park, Feral CrossFit in Saratoga Springs is independently owned and operated by Milstein and Ball, certified coaches who pay a fee to use the CrossFit name.

“There’s no guarantee the quality, programming or character will be the same at each gym. There are great CrossFit gyms and there are crappy CrossFit gyms,” Milstein said. “We’re focused here on health, longevity, and we cater to all skill ranges from not being able to do a push-up to trained athletes. You just have to be motivated.”

And you don’t really have a choice but to be motivated when you come to CrossFit.

“You’re not allowed to come in and do your own thing; you’re under our direct coaching


and supervision,” Milstein explained. “We do everything. We want you to work in a way that’s hard for you. It’s all about relative intensity.”

Specifically, CrossFit offers two programs for two basic types of members: the general athlete — someone looking to gain all-around maximum fitness and have fun — and athletes with sport-specific performance and strength goals.

The local CrossFit currently has a group training to become a competitive power-lifting team.

With 3,000 CrossFit-affiliated gyms now established in the country, the program’s popularity has to do with having the supervision of a coach and access to an ever-changing mixture of fitness tools, including power lifting, aerobics, gymnastics and rowing. Milstein and thousands of others have found the variety more exciting and effective than the everyday gym routine.

“I was doing the regular gym thing without any direct coaching or training, which is normative in most gyms,” he said. “It became a chore. I wanted to do something more interesting and it sort of took off from there.”

Milstein and Ball insist that once gym buffs get over the learning curve and understand all of the various exercises and motions, they too will become CrossFit converts.

“Our clients are totally ecstatic about us,” Milstein said. “We haven’t had a lot of visibility, and the people who do know we exist don’t have a concept of how what we do is really different from other gyms and isn’t just a fad fitness thing.”

To get acquainted with the gym and learn the motions, members begin with the $80 “Elements” package, which includes four one-on-one sessions followed by a week of free classes to find out what works for them.

From there, customers can choose monthly memberships for $175; six-month packages at $155 per month; and 12-month memberships at $135 per month. Prices include individual training, unlimited classes and access to the gym outside of class for stretching or other activities.

“Most people like having a prescription and it’s intentionally designed to offer a measurable, scalable prescription based on what people can handle,” Ball said. “Saratoga Springs is a great place for the gym, and the community we’ve got building here is a lot of fun.”


Feral CrossFit is located at 165 High Rock Ave. For more information, rates and schedules, call 774-4880 or visit feralcrossfit.drupalgardens.com.

For more business news, check out reporter Suzanna Lourie’s “In the Biz” blog atinthebizsaratoga.blogspot.com. Lourie can be reached at slourie@saratogian.com.