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Acton’s Purity Life celebrating 40 years in the community

Since the Chapmans started the company in the '80s, Purity Life has become one of the leading employers in town
CEO of Purity Life Matthew James in front of the company's warehouse at 6 Commerce Cres.

One of Acton's core businesses is marking four decades of distributing health products locally and nationally.

Purity Life was founded in 1984 by David Chapman and his wife Elyse. It very quickly joined the ranks of Acton’s best-known employers at the time, like Superior Glove and the Beardmore Tannery.

The company has seen enormous growth over its 40 years in the community. The still-expanding business now operates four warehouses across the country, serving 7,000 retailers.

"I'm thrilled to see it do so well. It's a dream that has continued," David Chapman told HaltonHillsToday.

A third of the 170 workers at the Acton warehouse have been hired locally.

"We always had a policy of supporting family members coming and working in the business," said Chapman. "We've often had spouses, sisters, brothers and children. It always worked out well. To this day there are people [working] there that came in because their mother or father worked there." 

Chapman's brother Michael is one such employee. 

Purity Life founders David and Elyse Chapman. Supplied photo

Purity Life distributes a diverse array of health and beauty products to its equally varied partner retailers. Some of those goods are household names. Sports brands like Nuun and BioSteel are familiar to the athletic world. Green Beaver and Pacifica are two of the many beauty products distributed by the local business. And of course, there are supplement brands such as Quantum Health and Garden of Life.

“Throughout that time [since 1984], we've been increasing the number of products that we provide to the retailer,” said Purity Life CEO Matthew James.

Chapman, an Actonian through and through, started the business in a storefront at 21 Mill St. W., which is now an apartment.

Sometime later on, the Purity Life office acquired a more prestigious venue in Acton. The company began renting the offices of the Beardmore Tannery after the prolific industry ended.

"The joke I told people is my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my dad all worked there at some point in their lives. And now I made it to the president's office," Chapman quipped. 

In 1994, the company moved to its current site at 6 Commerce Cres. The Chapmans sold the business in 2006, just a few years after James came on board. Chapman stayed on and ran the company until 2012.

James took over and has been witness to big changes in the company. Aside from the growing inventory, both in terms of volume and diversity, he has seen increased automation to make operations more efficient.

“Purity Life has always embraced technology from the original inception of business,” James said.

Some of the new technologies adopted include Enterprise Resource Planning software, which consolidates the core business processes that run a company; things like human resources, supply chain management and manufacturing.

But under James, further modernization took place when the company adopted business-to-business online ordering.

“Whether it’s your personal life or your business, you have to adapt to your environment because the expectations, the demands, everything changes,” James added.

He largely attributes the company’s longevity to meeting the demands of the customer. The popularity of health supplements, historically, exploded in the 1970s. They’ve remained largely popular since then and have been reflected in growing sales, especially in the post-pandemic world.

“We’ve been able to ride a lot of that momentum, although it's become more challenging in a competitive space,” James said.

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