London

This 19-year-old woman from London launched her own store during the COVID-19 pandemic

While many local businesses grapple with financial losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a London teen launched a business to fill in what she saw as a need for Londoners. 

The young entrepreneur said she wanted to fill in a void for Londoners with dietary restrictions

Surrounded by disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, Lana Khadra opened up her business, Diet & Wellness Health Food Store, during the COVID-19 pandemic. She says after working two part-time jobs for three years and taking a loan from her parents, the opening had to go through. (Submitted by Lana Khadra)

While many local businesses grapple with financial losses due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one 19-year-old woman from London launched a business to fill in what she saw as a need for locals. 

Despite trying times, Lana Khadra, a student at Western University, opened up her store, which offers food options for Londoners on ketogenic diets, vegan diets and those with other dietary restrictions.

She started the business earlier in May.

"I really believe in health and I really wanted to bring in new healthy alternatives to London," said Khadra. "I'm hoping people find items that can help them feel better and feel healthier."

While Khadra never expected to open her store during a pandemic, she said she was forced to because of financial hardships the ongoing pandemic brought on, especially after spending money on renovating and stocking the shop.

"We really had no option. It was getting financially tough for [my family]," she said.

Khadra says her shop, Diet & Wellness Health Food Store, offers Londoners with products suitable for keto, vegan and sugar-free diets. While the store opened during the pandemic, they are taking all precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 by offering curbside pickup and putting a limit on how many people can be in the store at a time. (Submitted by Lana Khadar)

The idea for the business came a few years back after Khadra went through weight loss and realized there was a need for more alternative nutritional options in the city. 

At 16, the Londoner started to work two part-time jobs in order to save the money for her business.  

"It was really tough, especially during exams to balance jobs and school ... but I didn't stop working for it," she recalled. 

"I just wanted to make myself proud and prove to myself that I was capable of doing something and I didn't want my age to stop me, so I just worked really hard for it." 

When the time came, the teen's parents offered her a loan to open the Diet & Wellness Health Food Store.

Khadra said despite the virus, a few locals have stopped by to shop and she's optimistic about the future of her store. She hopes people her age will be inspired to start their own ventures.

"Follow your passions and goals and don't let that little voice tell you not to, because nothing can stop you," she said.

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