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New Directions--Let's Stay in Touch! [ENewsletter 3-5-2013]

New Directions--Let's Stay in Touch! [ENewsletter 3-5-2013]


New Directions--Let's Stay in Touch!
by Don Goldberg
With the radio show over, we have to find new ways to stay in touch.
. . . and maybe it's time for this old dog to learn some new tricks?

The Willner Window Radio Program lasted for eighteen years on WOR radio. That’s a long time. And that does not include the two years or so before that when Arnie and I broadcast the show on WEVD. Neither of us had any prior experience in radio. We were actually talked into giving it a try by Dr. Howard Benedikt, who was looking for a new co-host on the show he had already been broadcasting. We were uneasy with the idea at first, but decided to give it a try. “If it turns out to be fun,” I said, “we will continue. If not, . . .”

Well, fun may not be the best word, but we did enjoy it. Both Arnie and I had spent our years leading up to buying Willner Chemists in the “professional supplement” field. We sold nutritional and herbal supplements directly to physicians and health professionals. We were educators. We answered their questions, and explained the mechanisms and actions of the supplements they were providing their patients. I was involved in product development and quality control for several of the companies marketing professional nutritional and herbal supplements. I lectured and wrote the newsletters and product information that the doctors relied on when evaluating and comparing various products. Both Arnie and I had extensive manufacturing experience as well.

So answering questions about supplements was not something we were uncomfortable with. The combination of our pharmaceutical background and hands-on experience, in fact, gave us what was perhaps a somewhat unique insight and depth of knowledge not found elsewhere. So while we may not have been polished “radio personalities,” we felt very comfortable talking about supplements, and answering listener’s questions.
And it was nice being able to talk directly with the “patient,” rather than through the doctor.  The same can be said, by the way, for our day to day experience in the store.
So while it might not be fun, we did enjoy it. We recognized that our presentation of factual information, unique insights, and unbiased responses to questions was appreciated by the listeners. We received positive feedback from the listeners, and we really felt we were helping people. But was it “fun?”

Losing half the weekend was not fun. To ensure that we maintained a high level of quality on the show, I felt it was appropriate that I prepare a detailed script every week. Week after week. I can’t say that was fun. To offset part of the cost, we had to secure advertisers. I quite often had to write their ads for them, and sometimes prerecord them. Not sure that was “fun” either.

As I said at the start of this story, eighteen plus years is a long time. We’re a little tired. WOR, our long time partner, is going through some changes, and we decided that this was a good time to end it.

It was not an easy decision. And we are still uncomfortable when Sunday afternoon approaches, realizing that we don’t “have to get ready for the radio show.”
One big problem remains, however. Fundamental to the identity of Willner Chemists is the dissemination of information about supplements. If there is one thing that separates Willner Chemists from most other similar retailers is the fact that we are a unique source of factual, professional information on supplements, what they are and how to properly use them. Without the radio show, how do we maintain that role?

Yes, we still print a product catalog/newsletter four times a year. The Winter 2013 edition was 112 pages. It’s free, and if you are not on our mailing list, you are welcome to subscribe. You will see subscription links on the Willner Chemists web site ( at the lower left corner. If you prefer, you can browse through a digital version instead. The link is right there as well. The digital version is great, but there is still something to be said for the “old fashioned” paper edition. It’s your choice.
But a quarterly newsletter/catalog is not the same as a radio show. There is not the same level of personal interaction, spontaneity and timeliness.

Here is what I decided to do. We are going to revive our “email newsletter.” Many of you have been providing us with your email address over the years, so perhaps a twice per month newsletter would be the answer. I could write articles about supplements and health, as well as keeping you up to date on sales, events and other news pertaining to the store. We’ve tried this a few times over the years, but there are difficulties. Initially, I tried to do it on my own, after purchasing software designed to facilitate the process. But my email provider seemed to balk at our attempts to send so many emails at one time, thinking, perhaps, that I was the victim of a virus-invoked spam attack. We then tried a service offered by our in-store point of sale software, but that effort fell short as well.

Now, with a renewed sense of urgency, I decided to utilize one of the “marketing” services available for a fee. Many of you received my first attempt. But, unfortunately, too many of you did not! Why, because again, in an effort to combat spam, the email services block anything that might be unsolicited. The marketing service that I used quickly quarantined all emails I tried to send that were associated with yahoo or aol, and insisted that I send a “confirmation” email, requiring you to “opt in” to receiving our newsletter.

I am not giving up, but it certainly is not easy. If you got a “confirmation” email, please respond. If you are not on our email list, please join. The link is on our home page ( at the lower left. If you decide at any time that you do not wish to continue receiving our email newsletter, you can easily “unsubscribe.”

This brings me to my final observation. To be honest with you, I’ve never had any interest in “social media.” I never got it. Everything I had done on the internet all these years was geared toward protecting my privacy and insulating myself from spam. Out of curiosity, I ventured onto Facebook once or twice and it scared me. Before I knew what was happening, I was being deluged with lists of contacts, or potential friends, mined from my address book, contact list, and as best I could tell, dusty old tax records and correspondence stored away in cardboard boxes in my basement! Scary. Before I could figure out where the power cord to the computer was, I was being presented with lists of people who knew people who knew people . . . I pulled the power cord and ran from the room, humming a certain Barbara Streisand song. And Twitter? Do I really want to be presented with a steady stream of inane gibberish from movie stars and basketball players?

Maybe I was wrong. I can see now that under certain circumstances Facebook, Twitter and similar programs might be useful after all. Much of what I am trying to accomplish with the catalog/newsletter and the email newsletter (and my blog) might be more easily achieved through Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps I have seen the light?

While the next catalog/newsletter is being printed, I have been busy learning about Facebook and Twitter (and maybe other similar services). I have set up a Willner Chemists Facebook page ( and a Twitter account ( When you first get this email newsletter, there may not be much happening on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, because I have to leave for a large tradeshow on the west coast. But I promise to work on it when I get back, so please join up.

Links should soon be present on our website as well (, or directly on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Help me out. Check it out. Sign up. Be my friend, or whatever. Follow me on Twitter. For my part, I will do my best to generate a steady stream of informative and pertinent information–information you will want! Ah, I feel so liberated.

Don Goldberg