MANSFIELD -- Myrna Bohr's eyes welled with tears as she sat in the back of the store.
The longtime owner of Apple A Day is ready to retire, but saying goodbye to customers is still difficult. Bohr said she's been overwhelmed by the support since announcing her retirement.
“I didn’t realize what an impact I had made on a lot of people," she said with a sniffle.
"The cards, the letters, the phone calls, the hugs. People saying 'We’re going to miss you.' 'What are we going to do?' "
Myrna and her husband Bill Bohr purchased Apple A Day, a health food and supplement store in Lexington, on Feb. 15, 1988. The store is located at 1358 Lexington Avenue in Mansfield, near Pancho's Tacos.
For Bohr, Apple A Day was a literal answer to prayer. She worked in banking and as a saleswoman for Avon, but desperately wanted her own brick-and-mortar business.
The couple heard about the opportunity from George and Luella Freund, who owned the business and the complex where Apple a Day is located. At the time, Myrna worked at Bank One with George, who knew she was interested in a venture of her own.
Bohr said the Freunds were a big help during the transition, passing on knowledge from their time running the store.
“I’ve been blessed. It was very easy for me to learn this and I think part of that was I was so interested in it," Bohr said.
“I have always been interested in natural as opposed to medicine.”
A big part of Bohr's job over the years has been advising clients based on their needs. Some come in seeking preventative products and immune support. Others are looking for something more specific -- a supplement to help normalize blood sugar or fortify the body's T cells.
Bohr always recommends that clients have immune boosting products on hand, especially during cold and flu season.
Her daughter, Lori Philpott, attributes her mother's success to hard work and a genuine care for people.
"She takes the time and really listens to what’s going on, where any more people are just so busy and really don’t take the time," she said.
Bohr said people tend to open up around her.
“I can remember many a time being up by the counter and talking to people and edging outside and you end up outside and you’re still talking," she said.
“People would say to me, ‘Why am I telling you all this?’ and I said 'Probably because I'm listening!' "
Richard Drozda has been a regular customer at Apple A Day for about 20 years. He's taken the same multivitamin for the last decade at Bohr's recommendation.
“It has helped a lot. It gives me energy and I’m still healthy for my age," he said.
Drozda said Bohr's experience and knowledge make her an asset to customers.
“Everybody loves her," he said. "We all hate to see her go.”
Bohr has eased into retirement; she now works just one to two days a week. She still enjoys the sales aspect of the job, especially since she gets to help people in the process.
“It’s kind of a double reward there, you’re helping people but you’re making money," she said.
Bohr attempted to find someone who could purchase Apple A Day and keep the business going last year, but prospective buyers were unable to secure a loan.
Apple A Day has no official closure date set; it'll be when the store runs out of product -- likely around Aug. 1.
“Thank you all for supporting me all these years," Bohr said.
"My customers have given me love and given me support, joy, good feelings, laughter, sadness … everything. It’s hard to let go but it's time.”