For 5 Questions this week, the Herald speaks to Tracy Uhlir, owner of Vital Nutrition at 2100 S. Columbia Road in Grand Forks.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to run this business.
A: I had tried several other protein shakes and really fell in love with the Herbalife brand and model. I love the idea of being able to bring healthy fast food to kids, parents and people in the community in general. I was able to do that, and I'm loving every minute of it.
Q: Please tell us about your company and what drinks you serve.
A: We sell meal replacement shakes and energizing teas that also have aloe to help soothe your digestive system. There's many flavors and combinations we can put together. For the workout crew, we have additional protein options. I'm an independent distributor, but we can, as one of the points of sale, have a nutrition club through Herbalife. You have to be approved and follow their rules and things like that, so that's how we came to have our club.
Q: What's new that's happening in your industry?
A: Nutrition clubs are actually trending. There are 70,000 plus nutrition clubs worldwide and there’re more of those than McDonald's and Starbucks combined. It is a place for people to come and get healthy, quick meals and build friendships and relationships. (People) can be a preferred customer and get a discount if they just want to purchase products for home, or they can come in and get meals. They don't even have to get a whole meal, they can just get a shake or a tea and other products. I was really hoping for us personally that it would be a safe, healthy place for kids to want to come and build relationships and get those communication skills working.
Q: How have you adapted to the pandemic?
A: It actually has been good and bad because it was a good way to kind of ease into a new adventure and, at the same time, it’s a little bit challenging because we've been holding back on advertising and spreading the word just because of a pandemic. We just opened at the end of April. It was tough because we weren't sure we could open and then we found out, since they are meal replacements, we were essential. We hurried and finished and are still trying to do things low key just because we want to be able to be there, to help give people good healthy food when we can. We try to not have too many people inside and follow the rules.
Q: Have you been busy?
A: Each day is different. Weather sometimes plays a part where it'll be quieter because people don't want to go out in the rain, but, sometimes, it's busy because people do want to go out in the rain. It's honestly the perfect job for me, because it lets me be me and visit with people and help them. Yes, we have booths, tables, high tops and a table outside. And then we do curbside pickup. We have games and Pac Man. It's actually kind of a cute story, a classmate of mine, she comes in at least a couple of times a week, and she schools the kids and it's amazing. They put a little whiteboard sign that said her high score, and it sits over there by the Pac Man machine.