Edmonton collector selling rare Star Wars figurine for $30K


An Edmonton collector is selling a rare Canadian release of a Star Wars figurine that could take in tens of thousands of dollars thanks to growing interest in the memorabilia.

Shane Turgeon acquired the unopened, decades-old caped Jawa toy in December after learning about it through a friend who owns a toy store in Victoria.

“He contacted me right away because he knew the significance of it and he knew that we’d be able to work out a deal and afford it, because it is a very expensive piece to buy from the original owner,” said Turgeon, who owns Shades of Grey Tattoo and Collectibles in Edmonton.

The figurine is modelled after the hooded Jawa creatures featured in the Star Wars film franchise and features a vinyl cape, which was discontinued in favour of a more realistic cloth cape version shortly after production began in 1978.

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An unpackaged cloth cape Jawa retails for about $30 to $40, according to Turgeon, while a mint condition vinyl edition could fetch $3,000.

As for Turgeon’s latest find, which remains inside its unique Canadian packaging by manufacturer Kenner, it’s one of only five or six known to exist, he said. It’s currently listed at $30,000.

A U.S. grading company rated the item 30 out of 100, largely because of wear and tear on its packaging, Turgeon said.

Courtesy: Shane Turgeon

“A lot of people will look at a story like this and they’ll say, ‘A Star Wars toy is worth $30,000,’ and they think all of their Star Wars toys are worth $30,000, and that’s not the case,” Turgeon said. “Star Wars toys that are worth that much money are because they’re very specialized pieces and they’re that way because there are very few of them remaining.”

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The figurine is currently with a grading company in the United States, which ranked it 30 out of 100. It docked some points because of the packaging, Turgeon told Global News.

He said there is a growing market for collectibles like his, thanks to people getting older and moving up in their careers.

“That disposable income is driving up the prices on pop culture collectibles across the board, especially the best of the best of pop culture collectibles,” Turgeon said.

The long-time collector hopes to find a buyer who appreciates Star Wars and understands what makes it special, but admits with a chuckle that “money talks.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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McGill science group takes aim at pharmacies for selling ‘quack’ flu remedy – Montreal


A McGill University science communication group is taking aim at a commonly available homeopathic flu remedy and questioning why pharmacies continue to sell what it calls “quack remedies.”

A survey of 150 Montreal pharmacies conducted last month by the McGill Office for Science and Society found that two-thirds of them stocked Oscillococcinum despite the fact that the product “does not work (and) cannot work according to our scientific knowledge,” reads a publication on the office’s website.

READ MORE: Montreal emergency rooms crowded as flu cases spike in time for holiday season

The product, which claims to shorten the duration of flu symptoms, was retailing for $37.99 for a box of 30 doses at a Montreal Jean Coutu pharmacy on Wednesday.

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic pill that is made by taking the heart and liver of a duck and diluting it until there is no trace left of the organs, according to Jonathan Jarry, a science communicator who helped conduct the study.

Jarry, who has a master’s degree in molecular biology, said he decided to target Oscillococcinum in particular because he considers it the most “egregious” of homeopathic products on the market.

“Nothing in homeopathy really makes any sense or is scientific, but this one because of its high dilution factor is particularly ridiculous,” he said.

Homeopathy, which dates back to 1796, is based on the principle that “like cures like,” or the idea that a disease can be cured by ingesting a low dose of something that produces similar symptoms in a healthy person.

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Unlike other herbal or alternative medications, proponents of homeopathy believe that a product becomes more potent the more it is diluted — a principle Jarry says “violates basic laws of physics, biology and chemistry.”

Jarry pointed to overseas studies, including a review of the scientific data on homeopathy published in 2015 by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, which concluded that “there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.”

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But Boiron Canada, the makers of Oscillococcinum, says doctors, pharmacists and patients have been recommending and using the product for decades because it works.

The company provided links to two clinical trials, conducted in 1989 and 1998, which found that patients who were given the product recovered more quickly than those who ingested a placebo.

“We fully support (pharmacies’) decision to respect every Canadian’s fundamental right to choose which products best suit their individual health needs, and we will continue to provide reliable options for consideration through our homeopathic medicines,” the company said in a statement.

READ MORE: Canada having ‘substantial’ flu season so far, off to faster start than last year’s

Jarry says homeopathic products are expensive and could lead people who purchase them to falsely delay seeking needed medical treatment.

He questions why they are being sold by Quebec pharmacists, whose code of ethics requires them to protect the public by steering them towards effective treatment.

A spokeswoman for the Quebec Order of Pharmacists acknowledged that homeopathic products have no “proven scientific value” but said it would be difficult to ban them because they’re regulated by Health Canada as a type of natural health product.

Julie Villeneuve said some pharmacists choose to stock homeopathic products in order to start a dialogue with their clients, but they could face sanctions for promoting them.

“Regardless of the school of thought to which he adheres, the code of ethics is clear: The pharmacist must practice pharmacy according to scientific data,” Villeneuve wrote in a statement.

“Thus, considering the lack of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy, a pharmacist who encourages a patient to use such products by predicting benefits would be placed in a situation of disciplinary offence.”

WATCH: Foods and supplements that may help you fight the flu

Some 8,500 homeopathic products are approved by Health Canada, which reviews them to ensure they are safe and “are supported by either scientific evidence or other references,” according to the department’s website.

In 2015, Health Canada changed its labelling requirements for homeopathic cough, cold and flu products aimed at children 12 and under, stating that makers could no longer make specific health claims unless they’re supported by scientific evidence.

READ MORE: Canada’s flu season started early this year, and might be hitting kids hard

Loblaws, the parent company of the Pharmaprix chain, said it prefers to allow patients to make their own choices, given that the products are popular and approved for sale.

“Given that these products aren’t prescribed and present no danger to health, the pharmacists-owners of our network have no reason to ban them, especially since an important proportion of their clientele appreciates and requests them,” senior communications director Johanne Heroux said in a statement.


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John Mackey: ‘We Were Just a Bunch of Young Hippies Selling Food to Other Hippies’ | Healthyish


In Entrepreneurs Run the World, we get advice and insight from game-changing entrepreneurs with big ideas. This week we talked to John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market.

Most corporate success stories paint a picture of the selfless grind—long nights in the office and time-spent with loved ones forgone for the greater good of The Company. But on any given weeknight, at least these days, you’ll find John Mackey at home in his kitchen cooking a vegan dinner for his wife; steaming vegetables and whipping up some kind of nutty sauce, most likely.

“To be fair, our office is on top of one of our flagship stores in Austin,” says Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. But the point is, after 40 years slinging good food, his heart is still behind the movement he pioneered. “It’s not just the hours spent working,” he says. “It’s about purpose for me.”

The day I met Mackey on the Whole Foods Gowanus roof, some 90,000 of his employees had just received a significant pay rise. It’s thanks, he says, to adopting Amazon’s notorious operating efficiencies. (Mackey sold Whole Foods to Amazon for $13.7 billion in 2017, and has since lowered prices twice storewide.)

But regardless of a healthy cash-out for Mackey, he says the chain he helped start out of an old Victorian house in Austin had humble beginnings. “We weren’t MBA students with a strategic plan that we were trying to execute,” he explains. “We were basically a bunch of young hippies selling food to other hippies.”

Here, we chat with Mackey about building something from nothing, finding and following your higher purpose, the old-fashioned power of learning on the job, and the 50-cent breakfast he swears by.

What motivated you to start Whole Foods?

When I was about 23, I moved into this vegetarian housing co-op in Austin. I wasn’t a vegetarian when I moved in; I was just interested in all things counterculture and I thought I’d meet some really cool people in a vegetarian co-op.

Did you meet any interesting people there?

I actually met my ex-girlfriend, Renee, there. We were together five years and she was one of the co-founders of Whole Foods. But when I moved into the co-op, I got interested in all things natural and organic. I learned how to cook, and became the food buyer for the co-op.

How did that formalize into something bigger?

I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d found the purpose of my life. I got super turned on about it, very enthusiastic, and I went to work for a small natural food store in Austin. I came home one day to the co-op and said to Renee, « What do you think about opening up our own store? » And she thought that was the coolest idea.

Wow. What if she had rejected the idea?

I often wonder. Whole Foods might not exist.

What came next?

We opened the first store, called Safer Way, inside an old Victorian house. We had the store on the first floor, and a café on the second floor, and Renee and I lived on the third floor. We were very idealistic, so it was strictly vegetarian. Even our cat was vegetarian. We didn’t sell sugar. We didn’t sell white flour. We didn’t sell alcohol. We didn’t even sell coffee or tea. And the result of that was we just didn’t do very much business. [Laughs.]

What did you learn from that experience?

We realized that we needed to open a bigger store that would be accessible to more people. So we merged with another natural food store back in 1980 and moved into a much bigger location. It was 10,500 square feet in the heart of Austin but only about a half a mile from Safer Way. And we sold meat and seafood and coffee and alcohol.

Did you feel like you were compromising on your personal values by making those changes?

No. After two years of being in the wilderness, what we were hearing from customers over and over again, was, « I’d shop here more if you sold this. » I realized, in an unsophisticated way, that we were not meeting people where they were. I was ready to open it up.

Was that an important business lesson?

In business, you have to meet the market where you find it, not where you think it ought to be. If you want to be in business and you just want to do your own thing and ignore everybody, you’re probably going to fail. You’ve got to evolve. And you’ve got to adapt to the marketplace that you find.

So what happened after you opened that first store in 1980?

Within a few months it was the highest volume natural foods store in the United States. It just exploded.

Were there any hiccups?

We built our store in a hundred-year flood zone. I was told, « Look, if you’re in the hundred-year flood zone, about once every hundred years there’s going to be a flood that’s going to put your store under water. » And I calculated it. I was like, “Once in a hundred years, those are pretty good odds.” But in fact, nine months after we opened the store, Austin had its worst flood in 70 years. And our store was completely under water. Renee closed that night and she literally had to swim out. We were able to rebuild but realized we were better off in another store. So we opened a second and third pretty quickly.

Did you ever raise any money?

Eventually, in 1989, we raised enough venture capital money to get us to California. The reality is that venture capital was not well developed in the mid to late ’80s. We sold 34 percent of the company for 4.5 million dollars. That original valuation of 8 or 9 million would probably have been over $100 million today.

So, after opening a bunch of stores in California, did you run out of money?

Yeah. The investors wanted to do another round of VC financing but that would have given them control of the business, and I really didn’t like the venture capitalists. Their goals were not synced up with ours long-term. And I knew they really wanted to secretly get rid of me because I was an outspoken hippie and argued with them all the time. So I got rid of them by taking the company public in ’92.

Could you ever have imagined when you started out, that Whole Foods Market would become this prolific?

I’m pretty sure when I was in my twenties, if somebody had said, “This is your destiny,” I would have run away. It would have been way too scary.

How did you learn to deal with that fear?

You grow into things. You grow as a leader. You grow as a person. Things you didn’t think you were capable of, you become capable of as you get more experience. And Whole Foods has been through so much good and bad over the years. I’ve learned a lot. Plus, I’m very fortunate to have an amazing team—Whole Foods has always attracted really talented people to work with us. I always say, “You’re no better than your team.”

So, you’ve been in this business for 40 years. I don’t know many people that stay in something for so long. Why?

It’s the purpose of my life. I’m very clear on my own higher purpose in life—what I’m here doing—and I haven’t finished with it yet. I’m getting older so there will come a time when it’s done, but not yet.

How is your recent cookbook a reflection of that purpose?

Just imagine for a moment that you know how to solve the healthcare crisis. You know how to help people lose weight. You know how to reverse Type 2 diabetes. You know how to reverse heart disease. You know how to prevent, for most people, ever having cancer. I felt I could help, and this was a bucket list thing. I had to write this book. I had an ethical obligation to write this book.

If you could only choose three favorite recipes from the book, what would they be?

Okay, the pesto linguine with lots of greens is a good starter. You can make that really quickly. The pesto is not going to have Parmesan cheese in it, but it’s going to have nutritional yeast instead. Another one is my one-pot veggie loaded chili. The chili is such a powerful flavor that the vegetables take that flavor on. I consider those really good for people who are trying to make this transition to eating more vegetables. And my third is literally any of the smoothies.

What are your own kitchen essentials?

A selection of herbs and spices, for sure. Because they can make anything taste pretty good. I’m always going to have whole grains and dried beans because they’ll store really well. And starchy vegetables—I really love sweet potatoes.

Being vegan, what about any ‘replacement’ products?

Kite Hill cream cheese is the best.

What’s your go to breakfast?

I generally have one of two breakfasts. When it’s cold, I’m cooking up steel cut oats, which I soak overnight. I travel with a little mini rice cooker. So I put my steel cut oats in before I go to bed, and then when I get up in the morning, I flip the switch. I have it with unsweetened almond milk and a little bit of raisins and blueberries.

People must laugh at this.

[Laughs.] Yeah, but how much does it cost? It costs about 50 cents. And it’s super, super delicious and healthy. I never get tired of it. But most of the time Austin has warm weather, so probably nine months of the year I’m making smoothies in the morning.

Are you an almond or a peanut butter person?

The honest truth is that I use almond butter more often because I think it’s healthier. But I really like peanut butter.

How do you stay active?

I bicycle and swim, but mostly I love to hike. I’m a long-distance hiker. I’ve hiked the Appalachian trail twice. And my wife’s a yoga teacher. So I do some yoga. But definitely not to her standards.

Over the years have you had anyone, a mentor or a friend or family member, give you some advice that has stuck with you? That you find yourself coming back to?

The single best piece of advice that my father gave to me is to “follow your heart.” That has stuck with me, and I’ve built my life around this piece of advice. Follow your heart. Be true to yourself. Most people choose security and want to be safe. But life’s too short to do anything but what you’re really passionate about.

So, if it’s not money, how did you define success all these years?

I don’t measure it. I don’t think about it. America is somewhat obsessed with success. It’s very interested in fame and money and power. I’m not driven by those things.

Buy it: The Whole Foods Cookbook: 120 Delicious and Healthy Plant-Centered Recipes, $18 .

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