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Nutrition Hub starts a nutrition bar craze in Memphis area

January 19, 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Salted Caramel, Reese’s, Blueberry Muffin, Cinnamon Toast and Strawberry Cheesecake. The menu at the new Nutrition smoothie bars reads like an ice cream shop or bakery, not a health food shop.

While the flavors may be sinful, the shakes are not. Each protein shake has just 200 calories and only 11 to 15 grams of carbs. As an added bonus, each shake offers 24 grams of protein and 21 vitamins and minerals.

“It’s everything you need in a healthy meal,” said Seth McMurry, Nutrition Hub and Nutrition Bar co-owner.

This new smoothie bar concept that is spreading across the Memphis area started as a family affair.

Seth McMurry and his wife, Cymber, along with Seth’s brother Nathan McMurry and his wife, Katelyn, opened The Nutrition Hub in Germantown in April. It was the first of these smoothie bar and meal replacement shops to open in the area.

In September, the couples opened Nutrition Bar in Laurelwood in East Memphis.

The names of the two businesses are slightly different, but each offers a similar menu. The focus is on shakes, teas and aloe shots.

The shakes are creamy, filling and surprisingly tasty. They taste like a sinful milkshake, not a healthy meal replacement.

“Protein shakes have been a big part of our life since we are athletes,” Katelyn said. “These are healthy, not chalky and taste like a dessert.”

The protein shakes are made with water and ice as the base. Using water instead of milk helps keep the calories down.

Each shake is made with protein powder and Healthy Meal meal-replacement shake mixes from Herbalife Nutrition.

“We currently have three different protein powders and 11 healthy meal flavors,” Seth said of how they can make so many shake flavors. The current menu boasts about 40 flavors, and Seth is working on adding approximately 20 more flavors.

“These shakes give you everything you need in a full meal without the calories,” Seth said.

“Our shakes are a way to get a lot of protein in one meal with low calories,” Katelyn added. “When exercising, you need protein to build your muscles back up.”

So what to order? Start with some of the owners’ favorites. Katelyn’s favorite flavors are the Blueberry Muffin and Cinnamon Toast. Nathan goes for the Elvis, a chocolate, peanut butter and banana concoction, or Salted Caramel.

At $8 per shake, it’s a quick and affordable fast food.

The tea at the Nutrition Bar and Hub is not your traditional Earl Grey or chamomile tea. Instead it’s a fruity-flavored energy tea that can be ordered cold or hot.

“It gives you extra energy like a double espresso. But unlike espresso, it is a clean, natural energy, so you will have no jitters,” Seth said of the stevia-based teas that have only 15 calories and no added sugar.

Each tea is made from a combination of a tea and an energy supplement. Seth recommends Pomegranate + Pomegranate, Chai + Orange, and Pomegranate + Orange.

You can also add a “booster” to your tea. They offer seven different boosters that range from a collagen “Beauty Booster” to an “Immune Booster” with vitamin C and zinc.

Teas are $4, with an extra charge for the boosters.

When you visit the Nutrition Bar or Hub, Seth recommends you start with an aloe shot.

Made from aloe vera, this shot is for gut health. Benefits include soothing the stomach, relieving indigestion and supporting nutrient absorption.

The shots come in mango, mandarin and cranberry and are just $1.

Unlike aloe water, which can contain jelly-like pieces of aloe plants, these shots are smooth and go down easily.

“I have had customers tell me they been able to stop taking acid reflux medication after taking aloe shots daily,” Seth said.

Customers can also purchase products to make their own shakes, teas and even aloe shots at home.

As part of Herbalife Nutrition’s sales program, business owners like the McMurrys can receive a percentage of sales from other businesses that use their account to get up and running.

“As they are more successful, we are more successful,” Katelyn said of this win-win to help others open a similar concept. “Plus, the percentage comes from Herbalife, not directly from their business.”

In addition to the health aspect, Seth said a big reason the family started the business was to build community.

“Each location has a big bar so folks can sit and talk with each other and us,” he said. “I know most of my customers here in Germantown by name.”

Each location has comfortable seating, both at the bar as well as throughout the store. The atmosphere encourages guests to hang out for a bit, as they sip their shake.

“All of us are athletes and we have been drinking protein shakes for years,” Seth said. “We have friends in Little Rock who have a similar business, and we wanted to create the same thing here in Memphis.”

Katelyn said they also saw a big need in Memphis. “We are trying to make a difference by offering a healthy and fast alternative.”

The McMurrys are growing their business by helping others open similar concepts.

Last year, the McMurrys partnered with another family to open a third location on Main Street. Downtown Nutrition is co-owned by couple Preston and Jackie Butts and Anthony Hollins, Jackie’s brother.

The menu and feel of the new location, which opened in early December, reminds you of the other two locations. Jackie described the business relationship with the McMurrys as “each is independently owned but we all work together.”

“I liked the community aspect of the business, the health awareness piece and the impact it can have on a community,” Preston said. “Plus, we live Downtown, and we wanted to give a great product to the underserved health and fitness community in Downtown Memphis.”

“We are opening a second location for us in Oxford, Mississippi, within the month,” Preston said.

The new location will be much larger than the Downtown location, at more than 2,000 square feet, and is located at 1101 Merchants Drive, across the street from the Dick’s Sporting Goods. Ole Miss students will be happy to know that the shakes will be on the university’s meal plan.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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