They may be the new kids on the block, but that hasn’t stopped Urban Nutrition from becoming a thriving business in downtown Decorah. Owner Jenniffer Lollar opened the store on Nov. 21, 2020, and said while she was nervous to open during a pandemic, the business has exceeded her expectations. We sat down for a quick Q&A with Lollar at her store at 128 W. Water St., site of the former “Good Foot” shoe store.
Driftless Journal: What inspired you to open Urban Nutrition?
Lollar: I started with using the products which are Herbalife back in 2017. Since I started using Herbalife products, I’ve grown to love them and went on to make a complete lifestyle change. This became the best decision I could have ever made for my health and wellness. In the beginning I wanted to use the products at home and make a lifestyle change. 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 begin teaching health and wellness with 1-1 coaching and product education to preferred members.
I knew that one day I wanted to open my own shop to help people have a “fast food” option to healthy eating and meal replacements. I have always been a very driven individual and was ready to see my vision and dreams come to fruition.
DJ: Have you run other businesses?
Lollar: I have never owned my own business before, so this is definitely an adventure for my husband and I. We are from La Crosse and I would have loved to open one in my hometown, but we wanted that small town flair that would give our business room to grow within the community. My husband and I have been coming to Decorah for years and loved the small-town feel. When we were visiting this past summer, we saw the space for rent and wanted to jump on the opportunity. I felt that this community would welcome a healthy option for breakfast or lunch.
DJ: Is your business mostly walk-in, online, or a combination?
Lollar: It’s a little of both, but I would probably say that 75% is walk-in. I let the customers know that anytime that they want a faster check out, they can call, text my number 608.799.5103, or message on social medial like Instagram or Facebook; this way they provide me what they want for the order, a time of pick up and their email for me to mail them an invoice to pay for a no contact pick up.
DJ: How much of your business is focused on educating customers to the value of your product?
Lollar: We will always put education to our customers and clients #1. This is a very important part of our business. We are coaching and teaching people to eat healthy and providing them the tools to do so. This starts when a customer comes into the store for the first time and looks at our menu, they get a full walk-thru of what we all have, how many calories, how much protein, what kind of protein, and sugars.
DJ: What are areas of growth that you’d like to explore and expand into?
Lollar: There is definitely room for growth here. The products that I use are so versatile that you can make protein donuts, muffins, protein balls, protein parfaits, overnight protein oats. This adds another whole side to a healthy meal replacement than just drinking a shake. Versatility is one of the things that I absolutely love so much about Herbalife products.
DJ: How has the pandemic affected your sales, and how are you responding?
Lollar: I was very nervous to open during a pandemic, but knew that we were going to be helping people make healthier choices. What is more important than ever right now is becoming healthy and changing your lifestyle. Herbalife is a great stepping stone for that. Our business has exceeded all of my expectations and has been growing daily. We average about 35 people a day and I feel once COVID-19 slows down, it will just get better and better. We have loved getting to know so many people already and have a group of regulars. The community has been great and welcoming.