Author: Caroline Hang, BSU Student
My Happy Place Nutrition is serving up the best shakes and teas on the South Shore! I had the opportunity to interview Becka MacPherson, the owner of this establishment. I was able to learn more about this family-owned business and what their philosophy was all about. Let’s get started:
So let’s start with are you from this local area?
Yes I am! My family and I are from Hanson.
Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
My mom had actually gone to a shake bar in Plymouth and had wanted to try to create her own business. She had worked for my dad in Halifax as an accountant/secretary previously and wanted something for herself. The first place we opened was Healthy Habits in Halifax. My mom loved the overall atmosphere of the bar, along with the freedom and flexibility to do anything she wanted, plus there wasn’t anything like this in the area. Now for My Happy Place, since we already had a location in Halifax that was successful, I wanted to open up another location in West Bridgewater. Since I was already in that line of work, I knew how to operate the business, plus my mom knew I wanted to run my own shop and so My Happy Place was born.
When did it start? What Year?
I opened My Happy Place September 12, 2018. I actually had the unit from August 2017, but wasn’t able to open until September of 2018.
What was it that made you want to start this business?
I fell in love with the overall atmosphere that this type of place can bring. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I knew that I wanted to start a place of my own. I also love the products that we are able to produce for our customers. With the business, we also do a lot for the community, such as breast cancer funding and Christmas donations, so being able to have a small platform made it easy to help contribute.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
I had the unit in August of 2017, and during that time we had already hired all the contractors to start the build. Unfortunately, due to damages to the electrical unit, we were pushed back almost a full year. Other businesses within the plaza were affected. We weren’t able to build the bar, couldn’t paint, so we were basically paying rent for a full year without business. We didn’t have any affiliation with West Bridgewater. I was using the GPS to get to my own business, unlike Hanson, where we had family and friends.
What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
I eat, sleep, breathe this place. I love being at work, since it’s super home based. I love what I am doing to do with the business. I knew that My Happy Place was going to be successful, because the first location was successful. But I also knew that it was two different businesses, so it was also going to take some time.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
I don’t think I would do anything differently to be quite honest. I am happy to be where I am with the business and how everything has turned out. Everything that we’ve had to go through has shaped this business today and how we operate.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
Definitely new restrictions because of COVID, since we are more of a restaurant. Back in March, we actually closed for six weeks out of our own precaution. We couldn’t have stools at the bar, or any of the tables. And we are the type of place that people came to sit and hangout for a bit, so for us to not have that is huge. We transitioned to take-out only, which we have never done before. But now, the majority of our sales are take-out only and people do call ahead to place orders. So, the overall atmosphere has changed from before. With opening this location, we relied on the college students, since we’re right in between Stonehill and Bridgewater State. But now that everything’s remote, we don’t get as much business as we normally would.
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 lot of other nutrition clubs will try to push products and sales down your throat. But with us, we want the overall environment and atmosphere to be fun and inviting – from the friendliness of our coaches behind the bar to producing a great product. We try to keep it true to the product and the healthiness of it. I also pride myself in the decorations, because it makes you feel comfortable and at home. There are also a bunch of new nutrition clubs opening up and sometimes if a new customer walks in there, it can often be cliquey.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
Marketing, constantly using Instagram and Facebook! I’m crazy about it. I always post Instagram stories and that will usually make our numbers a lot better, since it reminds people to stop by!
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
100% yes! I don’t know how businesses worked without social media before. We’ve done a website and newsletter, but 95% of customers that come in and buy our product are the ones that have seen our Instagram or Facebook pages.
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
Yes. I feel like I have already devoted myself to the social media pages to make sure they are constantly updated. But, I could try to update the website more often. No one really goes directly to the website.
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
My first summer opening, the entire parking lot was ripped up. The second year, COVID hit, so we have never had a normal summer yet. I’m hoping that there are no more giant hurdles and that we have a steady summer with regular numbers.
Increase or decrease, step away and be more a manager, passive owner?
I could never be a passive owner. I want to be in the store. With my personality type, I would have a hard time being passive.
What is the best way for our readers to connect with your team and to take advantage of what your company has to offer?
Definitely social media!