Mari-Mann Herb Co., Inc., also known as just Mari-Mann, started in the mid 1970’s in Maribeth King’s kitchen. Maribeth began teaching in her home healthy ways to cook with herbs and spices. Mike King, her son, even remembers putting together the Dilly-Dip™ packages around the kitchen table when he was in high school. Maribeth began traveling to local festivals to sell her specialty herbal products. In the late 70’s, she and her husband Bob, a local banker, opened a small retail store and farm with their sons Mike and Joel. After his father’s death Mike came into the business full time in September of 1983. In December of 1984 Mari-Mann became an Illinois corporation.
Mike King, a chemist, has invented many fragrance products and holds two U.S. utility patents and one international patent. The King Dry Fragrance division of Mari-Mann creates private label and innovative products to repel insects and freshen the air, which are sold worldwide. As with the beginning of Mari-Mann, protection of health and environment has always been at the forefront. Maribeth was a cancer survivor so Mike has created products that are carcinogen-free and environmentally safe, with his mother in mind.
Maribeth’s other son, Joel King, creates many of the herb and spice blends for healthy cooking. He also continues making the secret family recipes and products like our famous Spoon Herbal Sauce. Joel presented his meatball/meatloaf mix to a crowd of 1,500 plus at the Midwest Farm Progress show with a demand for more and more.
The store is nestled in the country setting of one the Midwest’s oldest and largest herb farms, offering a unique experience for all. Mari-Mann Herb Co., Inc. offers homemade dips, seasonings, jellies, herbs and spices “from annatto to zebranka”, homemade breads, pesto, house tea blends (like our famous Berry-Berry tea), a selection of “farm direct” organic foods, natural supplements, and fragrance products. In addition, the owners lead tours of their herb farm and host many classes on healthy cooking, herbs of the Bible and crafting with herbs. Mari-Mann brings in experts and lecturers from throughout the world to educate their customers on alternative medicine.
“You name it, we do it!” says Mike King, President of Mari-Mann. We are not just locked into being a health food store or an herb farm. Mike takes his role as the area’s natural health educator very seriously. He spends many hours each day studying supplements and alternative medicines to pass that information on to his customers. “I get to know my customers, we are not here to “fast-food health them,” he says. “What we do is educate and make sure our customers get the latest information and the highest quality products at the lowest cost.”
Mike King also has programs on health alternatives with 2 local radio shows and writes for a health magazine. He addresses everything from new studies on natural remedies for almost every ailment. “I have to prepare and document everything,” he says. “People know that I am reliable and knowledgeable.” Mike has built such a strong reputation that health journalists often come to him as a source for alternative information, thus providing more validation for the work Mari-Mann is doing. In fact, Mike is a regular contributor to Healthy Cells Magazine, a central Illinois health magazine published by Limelight Communications, Inc.
Mike goes to great lengths to understand the brands he sells. As a chemist he tours and communicates often with nutraceutical scientists and their labs. King says, “I know my botanicals, I know my growers and I know that they are good people and honest about their products.” King is careful to say that he is an educator, not a doctor, but his mistrust of conventional medicine is evident. “People don’t realize that eating right, exercising, taking supplements, belief in a greater than self and living a good healthy lifestyle is good for you and can prevent many diseases and ailments.” Your body is designed to heal itself given the proper care.
Mari-Mann offers a preferred customer card to encourage repeat customers. Members receive coupons and exclusive discounts. Since the card tracks purchases, it’s easy for customers to get the exact item they need. Today, there are over 12,000 preferred members and the list keeps on growing, Their outreach now includes a Facebook page and website.
Sales at Mari-Mann continue to increase every year. Mari-Mann has grown from its humble beginnings in the family garden and kitchen to one of the oldest and largest herb gardens in the Midwest. The garden is even “Officially recognized as an Illinois Herb Garden” and there are now tourist attraction location signs off the Interstate around Decatur, Illinois to guide people from around the world to Mari-Mann Herbs. At a time when many small businesses in America are struggling, Mari-Mann continues to thrive by meeting the needs of their customers in every facet of the natural, alternative, and gourmet markets.