“Think of this as healthy fast food,” Tracy Handt tells customers. “A shake and a show!”
The age of eating healthier brings Corner Nutrition to Mayville. The grand opening Dec. 5 brings dozens inside during the first 90 minutes- and they keep coming in. Tracy, who owns Corner Nutrition with her husband, Deano, says there are 10,000 nutrition clubs across the United States, including 20 in Fargo.
“We have nutrition clubs in Grafton and Fargo, and with a college town in the middle, it makes sense distance-wise to open a club in Mayville,” Tracy says.
Deano warmly welcomes customers through the door.
“She’s the boss,” he tells the Tribune. “This is a farm-based community, much like our club in Grafton. This town seems so nice.”
Ice cream parlors from the past offered 31 different flavors; Corner Nutrition has 83 different flavor combinations for protein shakes, what Tracy calls “the meal replacement for the cheeseburger and fries.” The beverages are “fun colorful teas that taste amazing, and protein coffees. The teas come natural, sweetened and unsweetened.”
Tracy is asked for recommendations from customers “needing a lot of energy to get through the day,” some tell her.
The low-sugar shakes range from 200 to 230 calories with 24 grams of protein and 21 vitamins joining the crushed ice, water or juice- no ice cream. Energy boosters that can be added include fiber, probiotics, and for immunity, epicor, which is fortified with zinc and vitamins C and D.
Back to those 83 flavors. They’re divided among a half-dozen categories: candy store, ice cream parlor, fusion favorites, cookie creations, coffee shop and bakery. Again, there’s no ice cream, no sugar. Tracy rolls off the most-popular.
“White chocolate/peanut butter cup- and it’s No. 1 for a reason- shamrock, thin mint, wedding cake, turtle mocha coffee…”
She’s interrupted to explain the difference between “The Elvis” and “The Elvis Impersonator.”
“The Elvis Impersonator comes with a deeper voice,” Tracy quips with a smile you can make out through the mask. “The Elvis Impersonator blends chocolate with the peanut butter and banana flavors.”
Then comes “Wango Tango,” which throws Deano into a reverie of the Ted Nugent anthem, “Classic Rock is my thing!”
The flavor is also Tracy’s favorite.
“It tastes like a sangria cocktail, but there’s no booze in our shakes!”
How about the ubiquitous flavor of bacon sizzling in the morning?
“I’ve had protein bacon bits on top of our French toast shake,” Tracy says.
Corner Nutrition is the fourth nutrition club the Handts have opened. Tracy is from Kindred, N.D., and Deano is from Valley City. They commute to their clubs from an apartment in north Fargo.
The nutrition club will be open from morning until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
A finished, colorful tea blend by one of the club’s five local employees brings a complement from Tracy, “That looks beautiful!”
The employees eventually will master the flavor and booster combinations. The Handts have remodeled the former Corner Cafe to let in the daylight. Tables, chairs and bar stools seat up to two dozen customers. Come summer, the Handts will paint the exterior and hope to hang a classic sign.
“Our plan is to rent this building for a year with an option to buy,” Deano says. “We plan to buy the building at the end of one year and let the VFW stay for free.”
“Our products evolve into protein pancakes, protein donuts, waffles, oatmeal bowls, herbal teas and protein bars,” Tracy says, realizing the club is next door to Soholt Bakery. “This is so much fun!”
With banana bread latte, strawberry cheesecake and funfetti among the flavor options, undoubtedly Tracy will come up with the protein powder combination that tastes like a root beer float.
By James R. Johnson • [email protected]