Organic Body Shop offers natural alternative in Barrie
With 400 natural products to choose from, the shelves of the Organic Body Shop Factory north of Barrie are open to the public to browse. Owner Dana Marie Panos looks through a few of the tea tree items she makes on site. – Janis Ramsay/Metroland
For the last four years, Dana Marie Panos has opened her Organic Body Shop Factory doors to customers looking for a natural solution.
She’s been running the business for over a decade, but moved to a five-acre farm at 951 Hwy. 93 five years ago in order to grow her own herbs and flowers.
Panos makes essential oils such as rose, chamomile, peppermint and eucalyptus, which are used in her bath and beauty products.
All of her items are free from chemicals and are biodegradable.
“What people don’t realize is your skin will absorb some of those ingredients, so if you buy an all-natural product with an added fragrance, now your body is absorbing those chemicals,” Panos said. “My biggest advice to people is to read the ingredients. Some products have paraben right in it. It’s a formaldehyde, which is used on dead skin.”
She started making her own natural products after a 14-year career as a hairdresser. She noticed after washing hair, her hands started to bleed due to a severe rash she developed.
“I decided it was time to go back into this,” she said.
Using shea and cocoa butter, Panos created her own formulas and soon had friends and family requesting more.
Now a chemist, Panos grows 30 plants in her yard to create the softly scented products, with the help of herbalist Miss Kate and staff members Jayne LeClair and Patricia Abbott.
She has created different lines to address skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. She also has lines for babies, scent-free, first aid personnel and more.
Now, she’s focusing on her retail shop. She is registered with Health Canada and is working toward being a certified organic farm.
“I grew up on a farm riding horses, milking cows and planting gardens,” she said. “After my mom died, I realized I missed this lifestyle.”
And now with 400 items to choose from, Panos encourages customers to shop online and pick up in the store, because she doesn’t always have every product in stock.