PHONE NUMBER: 541-752-5545
OWNER: Mary Hewitt
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 2
WHAT SHE SELLS: Weight reduction and healthy habits programs
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: For support in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle
Mary Hewitt has lived in Oregon for many years and came across the program Take Shape for Life two years ago. She discovered the program as a customer at first, and later decided to offer others the service she had received. She continues to run this business alongside her normal day job and is very successful with it. She loves the personal interaction the program allows her to have with her clients.
Mary, when and why did you decide to start your business? About two years ago, my doctor told me my BMI [Body Mass Index] was in the obese range. I knew I had been overweight and I had been trying different weight loss programs; however, none of them seemed to do anything for me. It was difficult for me to exercise because my knees would always cause me pain. I was starting to lose hope when a friend told me about the Take Shape for Life program. At first, I was a little skeptical of the program, but in November 2011, I finally tried it. When I entered the program it was easy, and I was never hungry. Soon, I found myself able to exercise again and started doing Zumba classes and lifting weights. I didn’t get the injuries I used to, and it only took me 4-5 months to reach my goal weight. I maintained this goal weight and still have a healthy lifestyle today.
I started my business because I had personal experience with the program, and it was successful for me. I wanted to share that experience and success with other people.
Tell us more about the services you provide for your customers. People usually find my business through our website. They fill out a profile with their lifestyle and habits listed, along with some personal information to give me an idea of what I am dealing with. Afterwards, they are given a run-down on their health, and the program begins. We use a combination of Medifast meals and personal coaching to help each client reach their goal and maintain it. The personal coaching consists of daily checkups and education on how to develop alternative habits to create a healthy lifestyle. When customers first start out, they receive initial personal coaching, then weekly meetings until they have reached their goal. They may or may not choose to remain in the program. It is a very successful program that promotes not only weight loss, but a healthy lifestyle that remains with the person even after they have reached their goal.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? It makes it possible for people to know about the program and make people aware of its existence in the community.
What does your business do better than anyone else? We are highly successful in terms of initial success because of the low calorie intake. Take Shape for Life gives people one more choice for a weight loss experience. We offer programs for seniors, teens, people who wish to gain weight, or people who simply want to get in shape and lead a healthier lifestyle. For seniors, we offer high protein and nutrients in small meals, giving our older customers the best of both worlds. You are never left hungry, and the program is very easy to follow.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met those challenges? The biggest challenge was being a new business in the area, making ourselves known to the public. We have also experienced network challenges. We solved these problems by making ourselves known on Facebook and using the CIBA network.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you, makes you keep changing and improving? I enjoy the personal aspects of the business. Talking with people about their progress and well-being is the best part of the job. I love seeing people improve and become more confident in themselves.
One of the things I like about my business is offering different choices to people. The program makes a huge impact on individuals because of the successful meal plan combined with education about healthy eating habits and lifestyles. People are very thankful for the results. When people start to see a little improvement, it motivates them to continue. I want to keep growing the business and provide hope for individuals. One of the ways I could see improvement in the business is by adding exercises to the program.
What is your relationship to the community? What charities/nonprofits/civic organizations do you support and/or participate in? I have lived in this community for a long time and wanted to start giving back through my business. I support our Sister City of Gondar in the Walk for Water event, and I also support Friends of the Library. I have participated in the Master Food Preserver Program and SAGE Garden.
How many people do you typically deal with? Right now, I receive about 1 or 2 clients a month. The program is available to start at any time of the year; however, the holidays are a very popular time of the year to start, especially around New Year’s Day.
How important is sustainability to you? Sustainability is very important in terms of my world view. The personal decisions we make now are impacting everyone greatly. I talk about some aspects of sustainability with my clients – aspects that can help with maintaining healthy habits.
Please give us your one-sentence take away message about your business. Take Shape for Life is a weight-loss program that focuses on promoting optimal health choices.
(Interview and article by Courtlynn Clark – December 15, 2013)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).