(Ambrosio’s note: When I visited Complete Nutrition’s website to prepare for this interview, four things stood out to me.
First, within just a couple years, Complete Nutrition grew to 123 stores in over 30 states, with more stores on the way.
Second, over 64 percent of their staff members have a personal training license. They also have staff members who are former strength coaches and other fitness professionals.
Third, in the past year alone, Complete Nutrition developed over 200 exclusive, high quality products that are sold only in their stores.
And fourth, they focus on selling “kits” rather than just individual products. These kits incorporate products that work together in combining the right mix of ingredients that produce far better results than if they were taken on their own.
I knew then that Complete Nutrition would be a franchise of interest to many who are looking for an easy-to-run retail business in the lucrative nutrition and weight loss segment. Thank you to Carey Gille, Director of Franchise Development for Complete Nutrition, for granting me this exclusive interview.)
Carey Gille (CG): Complete Nutrition was founded by Cory Weidel, CEO. Cory began his career in Beatrice, Nebraska, where he opened his first GNC franchise store. Within 6 years, Cory and his wife Jeri owned 15 GNC stores, all of which were top revenue-producing stores. In 2001, Cory started NDS Nutrition and in 2008, Cory sold NDS Nutrition to a publicly traded company to focus his energy on his new retail concept, Complete Nutrition. He felt there was a strong need to provide customers with more personal attention and direction regarding supplements. Cory’s vision for Complete Nutrition was to give the industry a fresh outlook on nutrition. The idea was simple: provide customers with better education, motivation and follow up, while providing positive change through supplementation.
FC: For those unfamiliar with your brand, what types of products do you sell in your stores? What is your sales mix like? What are your top sellers?
CG: Complete Nutrition is a network of high quality nutritional supplement retail stores whose mission is to create safe and effective weight management, sports nutrition, and healthy aging programs. The product offering consists of over 200 exclusive products including multivitamins, essential oils, protein, pre and post workouts, and thermogenics to name a few. There is no miracle pill. At Complete Nutrition, we recognize making a healthy change requires addressing multiple areas. Our top-selling weight loss product, CTS360 the Complete Toning System, contains 2 levels of fat burners, essential oils with CLAs and a night time formula.
CG: We would not limit our stores to the label “sports nutrition.” While we do have the latest products in the category and incorporate healthy aging programs in our stores, our focus is primarily on the weight loss customer.
FC: Can you describe the competitive landscape in your industry today? How has competition from online sellers affected your business? What distinguishes you from your competition?
CG: The landscape is extremely competitive in this rapidly growing industry. With new online retailers as well as brick and mortar retailers entering the market every day, differentiation is crucial.
We set the in-store experience apart. With personal attention from a knowledgeable consultant who is asking the right questions to be able to give the right advice, our customers can leave feeling confident they will see results. Not only that, they will receive support along the way with dedicated follow up. This is something an online experience and other retailers fail to match.
In addition to our consultative approach, our products are exclusive to us. You simply can’t get them anywhere else.
CG: Yes, location is key for the Complete Nutrition business model, second only to talent in the store as our customer experience is our first priority. We utilize a national real estate firm to help us identify markets as well as locations within that market that best represent our brand and optimize store potential. This team focuses on finding locations that meet minimum traffic criteria, have co-tenants that also cater to our target market and ideally some neighboring health clubs or centers. Most of our stores are located in regional shopping centers, power centers, lifestyle centers and shopping malls.
FC: Who would make an ideal franchisee of Complete Nutrition?
CG: Complete Nutrition was founded by a man with a vision who was able to share and inspire others around that same commitment to help people achieve their health goals like never before. For Complete Nutrition, finding the right franchisees is very important and our criteria need to be rather stringent to ensure we grow the brand with the right team. We are looking for individuals who have the following characteristics:
- Passionate about health and fitness
- Passion for helping others achieve their goals
- Ability to build, lead and energize a team around bold initiatives
- Business-minded yet willing to follow a proven model
- Engaged as primary business
- Owner/Operator focused on Complete Nutrition
CG: As a franchisor, we are committed to thoroughly training all new franchisees to have a clear understanding of all store operations. However, the most important part of this training is our “WOW Customer Experience.” Our most successful franchisees offer a very unique, personalized in-store experience that only improves over time.
The best franchisees are 100% engaged in their business before, during and long after grand opening. They focus on local networking in the clubs and gyms as well as local advertising via radio and direct mail. Over 90% of products sold are from Complete Nutrition wholesale so our commitment to ensuring that franchisees have the newest, high quality products and programs is also key. All products and programs are tested and proven in our corporate stores here in Omaha.
FC: Can you give us an overview of the initial investment and continuing expenses to operate a Complete Nutrition store? What is the profit potential?
CG: Most of our franchisees are securing SBA financing for their first store and then utilizing store one profits to open future stores. The initial investment is between $175,000 and $220,000. Here is an overview of how that investment breaks down:
In 2009, we had 15 stores open. Eighteen months later, that store count increased to 120 with another 150 under development. The explosive growth was not the result of lead generation efforts but instead occurred “organically” meaning our franchisees grew their own organizations or they told others about the success they were experiencing.
For financial data, please see our Franchise Disclosure Document, Item 19.
CG: Our primary goal, as always, is to provide a WOW experience for our customers. In turn, we must provide a WOW experience for our franchisees. In terms of growth, we have big goals! At our most recent convention, the goal communicated by our CEO, Cory Wiedel, to our franchise family was to establish over 300 $1 million revenue producing stores by the year 2020.