They may be the new kids on the block, but that hasn’t stopped Urban Nutrition from growing a thriving business in downtown Decorah. Owner Jenniffer Lollar opened the store on November 21, 2020 and said while she was nervous about opening the store during a pandemic, the store exceeded her expectations. We sat down with Lollar for a quick Q&A in her store at 128 W. Water St., the location of the former Good Foot shoe store.
Driftless Journal: What Inspired You To Open Urban Nutrition?
Lollar: I started using Herbalife products in 2017. Since using Herbalife products, I have loved them more and more and made a complete lifestyle change. It was the best decision I could ever make for my health and wellbeing. In the beginning I wanted to use the products at home and change my lifestyle. What it really did was change my life and became so much more than that. I began training as an Independent Distributor in 2018 to teach health and wellness with 1: 1 coaching and product training to preferred members.
I knew that one day I wanted to start my own business to help people have a fast food option for healthy eating and meal replacement. I’ve always been a very motivated person and was ready to see my vision and dreams come true.
DJ: Did you do other business?
Lollar: I’ve never owned my own business so this is definitely an adventure for my husband and me. We’re from La Crosse and I would have loved to open one in my hometown, but we wanted the small town feel that it would give our business space to grow within the community. My husband and I have been coming to Decorah for years and have loved the small town feel. When we visited this summer we saw the room for rent and wanted to take the opportunity. I felt this community would welcome a healthy option for breakfast or lunch.
DJ: Is your store mostly walk-in, online, or a combination?
Lollar: It’s a bit of both, but I’d probably say 75% is walkable. I let customers know that they can call anytime, text my number 608.799.5103, or text messages on social media like Instagram or Facebook if they want to check out faster. This way they give me what they want for the order, a pick up time and their email so I can send them an invoice to pay for a contactless pick up.
DJ: How much of your business is focused on educating customers about the value of your product?
Lollar: We will always offer our customers and customers number 1. This is a very important part of our business. We coach and teach people to eat healthily and provide them with the tools to do so. This starts when a customer first walks into the store and looks at our menu. He gets a complete picture of what we all have, how many calories, how much protein, what kind of protein and sugar.
DJ: In which growth areas do you want to research and expand?
Lollar: There is definitely room for growth here. The products I use are so versatile that you can make protein donuts, muffins, protein balls, protein parfaits, and protein oats overnight. This adds a whole different side to a healthy meal replacement than just drinking a shake. Versatility is one of the things I love so much about Herbalife products.
DJ: How has the pandemic affected your sales and how are you reacting to it?
Lollar: I was very nervous about opening up during a pandemic, but I knew we would help people make healthier choices. What is more important now than ever is getting healthy and changing your lifestyle. Herbalife is a great stepping stone for that. Our business has exceeded all of my expectations and has grown daily. We have an average of 35 people a day and I think as COVID-19 slows down it just keeps getting better. We loved meeting so many people already and having a group of regulars. The community was great and welcoming.