Brenda Cobb: An AppreciationOct 30, 2018 06:39PM ● By Paul Chen
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Brenda Cobb, founder of Living Foods Institute. And it goes way beyond the fact that the company is a full-page advertiser; I might not be publisher of Atlanta’s Natural Awakenings if it weren’t for Brenda.
Brenda, who recently sold Living Foods Institute—see our Business Spotlight — became aware of Natural Awakenings while traveling in Florida; the magazine was originally founded in Naples, Florida, and its first franchise also was established in that state.
Brenda thought the idea behind Natural Awakenings was a good one, and she encouraged an acquaintance to buy the Atlanta territory. Sue Mahany did just that and became the first publisher of this franchise. I likely would not have heard of Natural Awakenings if Brenda had not prompted Sue to buy the franchise.
From there, Brenda became “Customer Zero”; Living Foods Institute advertised in the very first issue and has placed an ad in every single issue since. It’s nearly impossible to think of the Atlanta franchise without thinking of Living Foods Institute; we’re like peanut butter and jelly.
While I’m eternally grateful for Brenda’s foresight in prompting the Atlanta franchise into existence and being a rock-solid advertiser over the year and a half thus far of my stewardship, I also greatly appreciate her good business sense—she fully understands the importance of constant promotion, and I’d like to think that Living Foods being a constant advertiser has contributed mightily to the magazine’s success.
But the fact is that Brenda traveled near and far to spread the gospel of living foods and its role in healing. She says that a very large percentage of her customers were from outside Georgia. For those people, I cannot claim that advertising in Natural Awakenings led them to Living Foods Institute.
Indeed, well before I acquired the franchise, my first exposure to Living Foods Institute was at a Twin Hearts meditation session where I met a couple that traveled from I don’t remember where to participate in the organization’s month-long program. That startled me at the time, less because of the travel and more because of the willingness to put a hold on life for four weeks. What I didn’t understand then, but do now, is that the Living Foods regimen is for many, as it was for Brenda, a matter of life and death. After acquiring the magazine, I sat in on one of the institute’s graduations. Every student spoke about their experience and two of them said they had traveled from other countries to learn from Brenda’s experience..
It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to call Brenda and Living Foods Institute a pillar of Atlanta’s natural healing community. Not only does Brenda have an enormous amount of courage—how many people would forego the rules of modern medicine and attempt to discover a completely different way to defeat cancer?—she is an exemplary role model for those of us in the field of natural health who aspire to help others. If, at the end of my run as publisher, I have helped a fraction of the people she has, even in a much less dramatic fashion, I will be pretty pleased.
Fortunately, I have one advantage that Brenda did not: She understood that constantly getting her word out was essential to helping others, but doing so was not the core of her business—education and therapies make up the core of Living Foods Institute. But getting the word out is 100 percent of the business of Natural Awakenings, and I look forward to emulating the passion and constancy that Brenda exhibited over her 19 years at the helm of Living Foods Institute.
Good fortune to you, Brenda, in all that you do. And thank you for being a loyal customer and a wonderful supporter of Natural Awakenings and our mission and efforts in the community.