By Brooke Schultz
Tracy Davenport is taking her smoothies on the road.
“I’m really excited about this step forward,” she said in an interview this week at her storefront, Tracy’s Smoothie Place.
It was last April when Davenport began looking at peer companies in Washington, Quebec, and Australia to see what they were doing. She found that many were moving toward a delivery model, she said.
In fact, she said, Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams had each just invested in a smoothie company.
“One of the things I wanted to do was be able to get our smoothies beyond Chestertown,” she said. “What I was struggling with was how do I get them beyond Chestertown if I’m in the brick-and-mortar all the time?”
Davenport said she decided that this internet-based delivery model would be a “great fit” because, despite the business’s success in Chestertown, she wanted to increase the demographic and expand services.
With her training and education in human growth and development, and as a writer for HealthCentral Network, her goal is to make people successful over a lifetime.
“I thought, I’m just going to repackage my brand so that it expands my services and also continues with our product,” she said.
While it is still what she calls a “work in progress,” she does a have a few plans for the future. As of now, Davenport has four smoothies that are approved by the Health Department for bottling. She plans to sell at farmer’s markets in Annapolis, Chestertown, and Kent Island, and will rent commercial kitchen space to make the product.
She’ll be sending out an email to those signed up with a schedule including the date and locations. Customers will be able to order a smoothie in advance.
She has also partnered with a registered dietitian, Ellie Baker, from Jacksonville, Fla. to create three- or six-week packages that include “more than just diet and exercise advice and packaged meal plans. Each program will be tailored to you and your needs,” according to the website, tracyshealthyliving.com
Most importantly, she is excited, she said.
“I feel like I did right before I opened this place,” she said. “People used to ask me what it was going to look like and how it was going to work and I didn’t know. I faked the answers a lot because I was only guessing and I feel like I’m in the exact same place now. I’m not sure about the answers; I feel like I’m faking it again and just guessing, but I feel like if I could build all this, I could certainly do the next step too, I just have to find that faith and confidence.”
Tracy’s Smoothie Place opened three years ago on Oct. 1 as the only all-natural smoothie bar on the mid-shore. Davenport said she was interested in opening the storefront because she wanted to fill a need and, after attending school on a scholarship for five years, felt that she needed to give back, she said.
“One of the things I learned at school was that people from a rural area were more likely to eat [more]poorly than people from an urban area,” she said. “One of the main reasons is because people in a rural area do not have access to healthy food, and that was certainly true here.”
She said that things have changed a lot in a couple of years, noting Figg’s Ordinary that opened last year.
“But, overall, there aren’t healthy to-go options,” she said. “I’ve been here for 29 years; I’m a mom of two. So I really felt called to do this.”
Going online is a way to improve that, she said, because she can be more efficient with her time. Half of the day can be dedicated to deliveries while she can meet in-person or online with people who need health coaching.
She attributes the brick-and-mortar to laying that foundation, she said.
“I had to listen for the last three years. I had to hear where people were. People are really confused right now and they don’t know even where to start,” she said. “They want to do the right thing, but they’re just bombarded with misinformation, diet fads… It’s hard health-wise.”
Though she is excited for the future, there are a few things she’ll miss in a constant storefront, like her regular customers, who she said have become friends.
“I have people who have come almost every day for three years,” she said. “So I’ve followed their lives and they’ve followed mine. It’s weird to think about next week, on Monday, I won’t see some of those people. But I think that a lot of people will stay with me and continue to use the product and stay in touch in that way.”
The storefront will close tomorrow, but Davenport said she would be nowhere without it.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” she said. “If you would have said what if you just skipped this step and went to the next one, I wouldn’t be ready at all. I wouldn’t know my customers, I wouldn’t know my product half as well. I wouldn’t know how to run a business. I can only do the next step because I did this for three years.”
For more information on the smoothies or her health coaching email Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at tracyshealthyliving.com.