Inside Denise and Jeff Bichel’s shop on Belton’s Main Street, the tea is on – and hot – and there are plenty of good smells to go a long way.
Life Thyme Botanicals offers a host of choices for holistic living.
The store opened in 2003 with the couple’s idea of bringing organic products to their community.
“We have a vitalistic mindset here, in which we try to fix the problem, not the symptoms,” said Denise Bichel, a herbalist. “There’s a structural defect that you want to have fixed. There’s herbs and lifestyle changes that can help with that.”
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The shop’s inventory includes herbs and spices, loose teas, essential oils, handmade soaps, soy candles, body care herbs, nutritional supplements and gourmet coffee beans.
The couple, along with their grown daughter, teach classes on their products and also operate an online business.
“What we consider our speciality is helping people find natural solutions for their problems.” Bichel said. “We’re not able to diagnose, prescribe, or things like that.”
Most of the products are handmade in small batches in the shop, at 319 Main St., or are crafted by local artisans.
Shoppers are treated to a complimentary sample of tea as they browse the store.
Denise has been able to use her personal struggles with cancer in recent years to help her customers.
“I consider my business more of a ministry, and I do this to help people,” she said. “When people come in with their initial diagnoses, they’re scared to death.
“I can’t cure cancer, but there are things that we have here that can help cleanse and nourish the body. A lot of the time, it’s just that they need somebody to tell them that it’s going to be OK.”
Bichel said she’s always been interested in plants and gardening.
“Even as child, I would do wild-food gathering,” she said. “My grandmother would take me out into the woods to collect nuts, berries and things like that.”
About 20 years ago, Bichel got her family interested in her hobby.
“I was homeschooling my children and we would research an herb or wild food that the pioneers would use and we would learn how they prepared it, go find it, and then use it. It’s kind of addictive when you start learning about it and the value of it,” she said.
“My kids were more familiar with eating milkweed pods than broccoli.”