Alisha Saint-Ciel The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Alisha Saint-Ciel reports, "A Latino-inspired smoothie bar is bringing horchata, mamajuana, tropical flavors and acai bowls to East Bridgewater."
The minority-woman-owned MS Better Nutrition with bright yellow walls, four mini desks with motivational quotes and ashy oak wood floors is located inside the Club Ex gym at 649 Oak St. in East Bridgewater.
"Our mission at MS Better Nutrition is to provide high-quality nutrition that is both delicious and convenient," said Stephanie Duque, the co-owner of MS Better Nutrition.
The smoothie bar offers several flavor combinations of energy drinks, smoothies, protein shakes, acai bowls and seasoned avocado toast.
"Coming in here is like a breath of fresh air. Stephanie is always happy, smiling and takes all the time to explain items to people. She is very accommodating," said Lori Shisler, the manager of Club Ex.
Some of the drinks are symbolic and are named after loyal customers and local places, and some are references to Latin culture.
Duque is a Colombian and Puerto Rican woman from Rhode Island but moved to Brockton two years ago. She said it's important to educate customers on Latin drinks and incorporate her culture into her business.
Every Thursday, Duque plays bachata music and offers promotions on drinks.
"Thursday is kinda like Friday Jr. and I want the atmosphere to be culturally upbeat," Duque said.
Horchata is a traditional drink from her culture made from white rice, cinnamon and sugar. Still, MS Better Nutrition added their own flare by formulating it into a fat-burning drink.
The most popular drinks sold are the Green Monster, Peanut Butter Acai Berry Bowl and Chunky Monkey protein shake.
The Green Monster is made with banana, greens, spinach; the Peanut Butter Acai Bowl is made with cocoa powder, banana and almond milk; and the Chunky Monkey is made with banana, chocolate and peanut butter.
None of the drinks are pre-made. Duque can modify every drink to the customer's liking.
"We're not a one size fits all. We like everyone to have a choice and to pick and add their favorites," Duque said.
The small business opened its doors on March 6, 2021, after Duque felt the woes of working virtually. In her previous position, she worked as an administrative assistant for Mass General Hospital.
Duque was chatting to her boyfriend about quitting her job and starting a business to become an entrepreneur. He suggested a smoothie bar, and they both laughed and continued on with their day.
Later that evening, a Facebook post popped up on the screen from Club Ex looking for a business that can complement the gym. The discovery of the Facebook post felt like it was meant to be, Duque said.
"We manifested our business idea," Duque said.
The couple went to see the place on Jan. 29, 2021, and then signed the lease agreement in February.
The goal for the smoothie bar is to have a Starbucks feel, where customers are welcome to come in, do their work and enjoy a drink with a slice of avocado toast.
Shisler visits on her lunch break to sit on the comfy couch, play music on the television and enjoy her favorite mid-day pick-me-up, the Chunky Monkey protein shake.
Zach Martin, a first-time customer using the mobile app ordering option, purchased two acai bowls using this new feature.
"My girlfriend usually buys the acai bowls. They taste good but are also healthy. It's a nice balance. I ordered two online, and I love the convenience," Martin said.
Duque loves nutrition and wants to continue to grow the smoothie bar and expand to different locations, and maybe one day open a Colombian food restaurant in Brockton, she said.
"I want customers to come in and feel like they're on vacation with the yellow walls that bring sunshine and light into the gym. I want people to feel warm and welcomed," Duque said.
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