Author: Christina Antoine, BSU student
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a business in my city, where I am somewhat of a regular. It is called Empower Nutrition and what this business does is pretty self-explanatory. It empowers its customers to take the necessary steps to a healthier, more nutritious life. They serve delicious teas and protein shakes and they are the first one in the city to offer these services. They also offer delicious protein donuts on Wednesdays and host community events like positive workshops and transformation challenges especially for the guests who want to transform their bodies and feel better about themselves. The goal is everyone leaving Empower Nutrition with smiles on their faces. Speaking for myself, it has worked.
Francois and Iraimi Diatta are the young Brockton couple who started this business back in late October 2019. Working as online fitness coaches and visiting nutrition clubs gave them the motivation to open the very first nutrition club in Brockton. After having a delicious Peach Ring sweet tea, I had the amazing opportunity to interview them after hours. Here’s a piece of our interview:
Q- So, let’s start with are you from this local area?
Q- Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business? What made you want to start it?
A- We chose this business because first, it’s something that we’re passionate about. Because we really value health, fitness, and just being healthy. For 5 years, we’ve been health coaches online so running transformation challenges online and we used to visit smoothie shops like this and we just got inspired. We said “Hey, why not? Let’s do this in Brockton” because we noticed that people were really focused on getting healthy in Brockton but they didn’t have an option to healthy fast food. And this location, right here, it connects to a lot of different cities and a lot of people commute down this street.
Q- When did it start? What Year?
A- We started at the end of October of 2019 so October 26th.
Q- What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
A- The toughest was dealing with the city and working with City Hall and Board of Health to get approval and get everything done for our business and getting established.
Q- What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A- I would say that as a young couple, we already sacrificed a lot, we already signed the lease, and whether the process was easy or not, we would have to stay here. At some point, yes, we wanted to quit mentally, but we were like “no” because anything worth having is not easy. At some point, something deep inside of us was like “You guys got this! Keep going! Keep going!” because we sacrificed a lot of things.
And we made a lifestyle change. We moved out of our apartment, we moved in with my parents, we were able to save and be even closer to the smoothie shop. We’re right up the street, 5 minutes away.
Q- What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A- The toughest part, I would say, is trying to have something for everybody. We know that what we offer is not for everybody. There’s a specific customer that we’re going to be attracting but we also found that we’re attracting customers that we would never think would come and consume our smoothies and our teas and those are the ones that have been consistent since day 1, the ones we wouldn’t think. What I mean by appealing to everybody is that some people have certain allergies so yes, we can serve people with a gluten allergy because 90% of our products are gluten-free. Yes, we can help anybody with peanut allergies but some people have specific allergies like some people are allergic to biotin. People have certain taste buds and just want the fruits, and we, of course, recommend them to the juice mill and things like that. I would say that.
The other thing is that it’s kind of heartbreaking to run into other young couples who say “oh we had the same idea” but something is blocking them from going forward, and it’s kind of heartbreaking.
Q- If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
A- What makes ours stand out is just how we treat and focus on our customers. We really love all of our customers. We try our best. Everyday, we wake up, we work on ourselves so we can pour into our customers and if they give us a chance, they will know that we gave them the best of the best and we gave them love. And we’re always focused to know more about our customers than we know about them because it’s all about them. So they’ll definitely feel at home when they come here.
We’re working to inspire. It’s non- negotiable. We need to keep going.
Q- What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
A- Our number 1 way, I would say, is our customer service. Word of mouth is powerful. Going back to us focusing on our customers and giving them love, one of the things we hear repeatedly is people saying “Yes your smoothies and your teas taste great but the things that people say about you is amazing.” So we know that because of the customer service, that’s what’s sparking word of mouth and getting people to tell a friend, tell a friend. And of course there’s social media. With our customer service, it shows on social media because of what customers are saying so that’s how we literally go viral.
I would add that her smile is very attractive *laughs* and I would add that we are genuine people, we are real. I am not going to fake and act like someone I am not.
Q- Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
A- Yes! Oh my God, especially because consumers will buy what they see. What we noticed a lot is when we post our “Shake of the Day” or “Shake of the Week”, people will bring in their phone and say “I want this.” Even from the smoothies we made last year! I’m like “Oh that’s old! That’s Christmas cookie! We don’t make that anymore because that’s part of the Christmas menu!” It plays a big part of what we do. Our website is currently being built so we have our nutrition facts on our posts so people can know what’s in their food and so I feel like they’ll know everything about us through social media.
Q- Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
A- Yes, especially with ads. What I did on January 1st, was make our newspaper article an ad because it’s a new year and everyone is trying to get healthy. Everyone in Brockton should know that they have a nutrition smoothie shop and they can come here and they have to struggle to make shakes at home or drive 45 minutes to Planet Smoothie. So I placed an ad and it has reached 18,000 people and it has over 450 shares. Even organically, it does well. But I know with the right strategy like ads, it could reach more people because there’s still a lot of people who don’t know about us and there’s over 90,000 people in Brockton. We get a lot of new people every day who never knew about us.
Q- If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
A- With a second location. Because we cater to specific types of people here in this area but we know that other parts of Brockton, like for example, downtown, downtown is more of the working class people and I know we would be able to serve a lot of them. Especially since a lot of people come to Brockton to work. I know the impact that our smoothie shop already had on Brockton and everybody is getting healthy and it’s amazing.
With all that being said, what are you waiting for? Stop by Empower Nutrition and tell them Christina sent you there!