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Teen entrepreneur opens London, Ont., health food store amid coronavirus pandemic

owner of Diet & Wellness Health Food Store, which opened May 11 at 944 Oxford Street E.
Lana Khadra, owner of Diet & Wellness Health Food Store, which opened May 11 at 944 Oxford Street E. . Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Any new business comes with its challenges, but COVID-19 was not something Lana Khadra planned for.

At only 19 years old, Khadra is the owner of Diet & Wellness Health Food Store, which opened May 11 on London’s Oxford Street East.

MORE: Coronavirus: London businesses embracing first phase of Ontario’s reopening

The store sells health food products that people can use to help follow a variety of different diets to help them lose weight.

She had initially planned to launch the store in March but decided to push back her launch due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Diet & Wellness Health Food Store opened May 11 at 944 Oxford Street E.
Diet & Wellness Health Food Store opened May 11 at 944 Oxford Street E. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Still, at a time when many businesses are struggling because of COVID-19 restrictions, Khadra moved forward with her plans.

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“I knew that it was going to be tough to move ahead with the opening of my store during a global pandemic, but I am a very optimistic person,” she told Global News.

READ MORE: Young, female, and the boss: a look at three London, Ont., entrepreneurs

To help keep customers safe, the store has set a limit of only seven customers at a time and has also posted several signs and offers hand sanitizer at the door.

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Khadra said she was inspired to open the business after her own weight loss journey.

“I want to help people find the products they were looking for.”

After coming up with the idea, Khadra went to her parents for advice, who helped her get everything set up and gave her a loan.

READ MORE: 3 new coronavirus cases, 4 recoveries, 2 outbreaks resolved in London-Middlesex: MLHU

Still a student studying finance at Western University, Khadra does not think her age should really be a factor.

“Honestly, if you just focus, it’s not as hard as it seems,” she said.

“I just worked and worked, and it eventually came together. It was stressful and a lot of pressure, but if you keep pushing for it, anyone can do it.”

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: What you can and cannot do in Ontario amid Phase 1 of reopening

She also hopes her new business venture can help others by carrying Canadian and regional health food startups that aren’t widely distributed.

“We love to source locally because we like to support the Canadian market.”

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