HANSON — Expansion may not be good for one’s waistline, but for business it’s an indication of a healthy bottom line. When an expansion offers additional services that complements the main business, so much the better.
Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Phil Johnson, owner of Just For You Personal Training, 1000 Main St., Hanson has undertaken just such an expansion.
Last month, he and his wife LaToya opened the doors of the Just For You Nutrition Store in a space once occupied by Attic Fanatic’s display studio in the same building.
Just For You Personal Training has been in business since December 2013, also intended to help expand the business Johnson began in 2010 in Hanover and then Halifax, and it seemed to create a need for the nutrition store almost immediately.
“I just decided to do it because there was nothing like this in the area,” Phil said. “My clients kept asking what they should have, what they should eat. They’d always have to go other places at long distances, so I thought, ‘Let’s go for it.’”
Clients can frequently be overheard comparing notes on items they’ve tried from the nutrition store as they go through pre-workout warm ups in the gym.
LaToya helped her husband put the store together as a kind of convenience store for the health-conscious — and they’ve benefited from strong word-of-mouth and Facebook recommendations.
“It seems every week, more and more people find out about us and come,” she said.
As if on cue, a woman who lives in Avon came into the store looking for Halo Top low-calorie/high protein ice cream.
“It seems like everyone wants that,” LaToya said.
“They’re talking about it a lot at Weight Watchers,” the woman said, noting a serving is only four points on the diet program’s scale based on the nutrient content of foods.
The Johnsons’ market research took them to other health food stores in the area and through countless Internet sites as well as customer requests.
“Phil knew more than me with the nutrition end, because he took classes on nutrition,” LaToya said. “I knew some, but doing the store, I’ve learned a lot more.”
Halo Top was one of the brand names and general food categories customers have been requesting, LaToya said. The dairy-based ice cream is low-fat — only 240 calories per pint — with 24 grams of protein and is organic. It contains no artificial softeners to make it seem creamier (it doesn’t need them), and as a result melts slower.
They also carry non-dairy ice cream such as Coconut Bliss, made with coconut milk, and Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy, made with almond milk.
There are several brands that shoppers at grocery and specialty food stores will recognize, too: Anna’s Swedish Thins cookies, Stacy’s pita chips, Weetabix cereal, Kind health bars, Envirokids cereals, Hodgson’s Mill, Bob’s Red Mill, Simply Asia and Thai Kitchen prepared foods. Nut-free, organic, Indian vegetarian and gluten-free foods are also available.
“There’s a lot of stuff here that they can just grab and warm it up in the microwave or something,” LaToya said. “Some of the stuff you can find in the other stores but a lot of it, you can’t.”
The idea is a convenient way of finding a healthy item you want without having to search through a large grocery store for it.
“You can just come in and you know whatever you’re getting is going to be good for you,” she said.
The aim of the store has always been to carry all different kinds of nutritional supplements and healthy foods.
“We started with the proteins and we did a range of them, and then added the foods,” she said. “We even ended up getting spices.”