Bridgitte Cummings has helped other people open up smoothie bars offering nutritious-yet-delicious drinks and meals.
This time, she’s opening up a second store for herself.
Cummings, the owner of Healthy Edge, will open Healthy Spot in about a week. Located at 2900 S. Fremont Ave., the smoothie bar will offer meal replacement shakes, protein bowls, protein waffles and flavored drinks labeled “energy refreshers.”
It is a menu that will look very similar to the one at Healthy Edge, located at 3604 S. Campbell Ave. That store just celebrated its fourth anniversary at the end of June.
From customer to owner
When Cummings moved from California to Springfield about five years ago, she said Healthy Edge was one of the first of its kind around the city. Then owned by Brian Van Winkle, Cummings said the bar’s refreshers were a surprise.
“The first thing I tried was a refresher, and I had energy the entire day,” Cummings said. “I didn’t crash the same way I would from an energy drink, and it helped with my sweets cravings.”
Soon after, Cummings got the chance to buy the business from Van Winkle. He ran the store for about six months after it opened, but Van Winkle sold because of a medical emergency in his family, Cummings said.
Her husband, Jeremy, sold a prized possession — a Fox-body Ford Mustang — in order to pick up the business. At the time, Cummings hoped to make enough to pay rent and power bills.
Cummings, a personal trainer based out of Rogersville, put her knowledge of nutrition and business operation to the test. She proudly says she is “unemployable” — she is wired for directing her own ventures, she said.
Sales far exceeded her expectations, even through the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
“We doubled what the first owner did in the first month, just because we used social media more,” she said. “And it just grew from there.”
Since then, she has helped others open similar nutrition bars, including Downtown Health Bar at 323 E. Walnut St., and others.
Focused on flavor
Cummings said she and her employees put a lot of effort into ensuring each menu item has a good flavor.
Using a base of products from Herbalife, they start with water to keep calorie counts at rock-bottom. The main items are sweetened with Stevia in order to keep nutrition standards high. With the base figured out, they can splurge on decadent toppings while staying within appropriate “macros” — amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
The results are incredibly delicious, Cummings said. On the menu, refreshers are arranged as sweet, sweeter or sweetest.
Using the philosophy, the bar rolls out seasonal and themed items — they recently sold shakes and drinks themed after county-fair flavors, such as churro, fried ice cream, Bomb Pops, fried Oreos and cotton candy.
“To figure out our flavors, we test them out ourselves,” Cummings said. “We want to make sure they taste good before putting them on the menu.”
New look, same recipes
The second location helps her get closer to the Glenstone and Battlefield corridor. While the branding of Healthy Spot is similar to Healthy Edge, Cummings said a new name is required by Herbalife standards.
Cummings’ staff of baristas will work both locations, making the same menu of shakes, drinks, protein bowls, protein waffles and more. It will be double the work for a while, as they divide and conquer, but the opportunity to get close to one of Springfield’s economic epicenters is valuable, she said.
That means the next four years looks exciting, she said. At 28, she has big goals to hit by the time she is 30.
“We have always wanted to tap into the Glenstone area, getting to the mall and beyond,” Cummings said. “Honestly, I’m such a day-to-day person, I would never have thought this business would have done what it has.”