Nestled in the scenic town of Deer Park, you’ll find Living Herbal, a shop dedicated to medicinal herbs and teas. You’ll also find the owner, Eric Sims, who is dedicated to providing the highest quality herbs and teas to his customers. And nothing gives him greater fulfillment than hearing the “success stories” his customers share from the use of his herbs and teas.
Eric landed in this position of helping people who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, and other health issues by accident or fate. He was born and raised in Spokane, spent 12 years in California, then came back to Spokane before finally settling in Deer Park. Eric worked as a window cover installer for 25 years, until the toll on his body became too great. He required multiple surgeries to address his injuries. Despite the surgeries, he would find that he still had restrictions on the kind of work he could do. He needed a career change.
In 2013, that career change started with opening an emergency and survival shop called Prepper’s Paradise. When this business faltered, in 2016 he converted his business to Living Herbal, which started in a “tiny” space. After one year, Living Herbal moved to the current, bigger space of 2500 square feet.
He couldn’t be happier. “It’s evolved into something I enjoy so much more.”
While the FDA restricts what claims can be made about the medical efficacy of herbal supplements, Eric’s customers at Living Herbal have shared “amazing” results from his products. One particularly controversial product is also Living Herbal’s most popular. Kratom is a tree found in some parts of Southeast Asia where its leaves have traditionally been used as medicine. According to internet sources, the medical community believes that kratom affects the pain-killing receptors in the brain. The same sources also note that research about kratom is lacking. The FDA wants it banned.
Eric admits that “there is bad kratom on the market and there’s a lot of bad information out there.” Both of these factors have given kratom a bad reputation. He also notes that it’s necessary to be knowledgeable (which he clearly is) and take great care in providing the highest quality and most effective kratom. Eric describes the kratom available at Living Herbal as a “high end” and “first rate” product.
Another popular product at Living Herbal is kava. Kava is a beverage or extract made from a plant that grows in the western Pacific islands. I can personally attest that Kava is a popular social drink in the South Pacific where it’s used for relaxation. I joined in social kava drinking when I was visiting Fiji. According to internet sources, in the U.S., kava is most commonly used for anxiety, stress, restlessness, and sleeping problems.
Eric notes that his customers like kava because, as a social drink, it’s relaxing like alcohol, without the negative effects of alcohol. Kava bars are becoming popular in the U.S. and Eric’s goal is to add a kava bar to his business.
Blended teas are also popular items at Living Herbal, where Eric has moved completely out of packaging and features only herbs and teas in bulk, with pricing per ounce. “Customers can buy small amounts, making it cost effective for them.” According to Eric, the move to bulk only has brought in new clientele who want to experiment with recipes without spending too much money. Bulk items also allow Eric to share free samples to customers.
Eric has just one employee, Savannah, who “does a magnificent job.” So you’ll almost always find Eric at Living Herbal, sharing what his customers tell him and learning more from what his customers share. “I’m fanatical about my learning,” says Eric. “I’m self-trained and listen to my customers, which is better than any schooling. They give direction to the store with ideas that I haven’t thought of. My only failures have come from not listening to my customers.
One thing Eric has learned from his customers is how many people are experiencing chronic pain and suffering from anxiety. Nothing makes him happier when he hears that Living Herbal products have helped relieve his customers’ suffering. He often hears, “I tried __ and it was amazing!”
People come into Living Herbal looking to solve many other problems as well, from urinary tract infections, to erectile dysfunction, to high blood pressure. Again, he hears success stories from the customers who say something like, “That tea worked!” Eric says, “That’s amazingly fulfilling. It’s tremendous”
Such rewarding work is why Living Herbal, according to Eric, holds the largest volume of organic herbs in the region with the best prices. He acknowledges he could probably make more money if his business was in Spokane. “It’s never been about the money,” he says. “This (Living Herbal) is a necessity. I like it here. And I gotta be happy.”
Perhaps it’s his own experience with chronic pain that makes Eric so compassionate and so passionate about helping others. Or perhaps this was his destiny. Either way, it’s simply inspiring to hear someone deriving such joy and satisfaction from helping so many.
You can visit Living Herbal at 108 E. Crawford Street in Deer Park. Or call Eric at Living Herbal at (509) 276-5478.