Fitness, Feet, Franchising

The Healthy Smoothie Lady

Tracy Handt is known around town as the local energy dealer, AKA, “healthy smoothie lady.”

She and her husband, Deano, own Energy on Main.

She sums up her entrepreneurial journey in three words: “fitness, feet, and franchising.”

Tracy’s Roots

Like many entrepreneurs, Tracy’s entrepreneurial roots go all the way back to grade school. “I started my first sales job as a Girl Scout cookie salesman,” she quipped.

After she finished high school, she went to college at NDSU and Jamestown College. She got a degree in exercise science and earned minors in nutrition and business.

With her exercise degree in hand, she started off as a group exercise instructor, teaching aerobics. Over the years she taught all kinds of exercise classes and owned her own personal training business.  “I have worked in about 20 different health clubs and fitness facilities across three States,” Tracy laughed.

Franchising

From there, Tracy and Deano moved to Wisconsin, where she “stumbled on to what she refers to as the second “F,” a franchise called “Good Feet.” The Good Feet franchise was their first franchise as well as their first brick and mortar business.

Tracy explained that every franchise business is like a stool built with three legs, each one essential to the success of the franchise: name uniformity, standard operating procedures, and product.

Deano had a motorcycle accident when he was in high school, and as a result had all kinds of back and foot pain. When the Good Feet franchise opportunity opened up, they didn’t really know anything about orthotics, but they knew that the product took away Deano’s foot pain and helped him walk.

When an opportunity opened up in the Minneapolis market, they thought, “hey, Minneapolis has a lot more feet, so let’s go there,” she laughed. From that point on the business grew, and they opened several stores, including locations in Fargo, Rochester, St. Cloud, and five in the Twin Cities.

“We had a lot of fun and did a lot of good things. People would come in, practically in tears, because they couldn’t walk. The ability to put a little device in their shoes and all of a sudden, they’re standing taller, feeling better, and starting to exercise.”

Fast forward to 2007, they ended up moving to San Diego County and working for the franchise at corporate headquarters.  When the market crash came in 2009, the company made decisions that didn’t align well with Tracy and Deano’s values. “We walked away from our six figure jobs and went back to North Dakota,” Tracy said. “The plan was to continue running our stores.”

But life events changed those plans, and they ended up moving back to Kindred, North Dakota to be close to family. Tracy started working for a company that sold fitness programming. She traveled across the country consulting with a couple hundred fitness facilities, helping them improve their bottom line. From there she ended up working for a company called “Find Me a Franchise.” Although she was an award-winning salesperson, it wasn’t the right fit for her.

A Smooth(ie) Move

In 2019, she opened a smoothie bar in Minnetonka, staying true to her educational background and her love of being an entrepreneur. She and Deano opened smoothie bars in a few other locations and in 2020, a woman walked into one of their stores and complained that she was moving to Thief River Falls, but “there was no smoothie place.”

“So, a couple months later, my husband and I jumped in a car and came up to Thief River,” Tracy laughed. “We didn’t know a single person, but we drove around for about three and a half hours and then we saw a handwritten sign in a window that said, ‘for rent, call Geno.’

The following week, they signed a lease for the property and opened for business eight weeks later.

What’s Next

Tracy and Deano are empty nesters who have been married for 26 years. “We want to keep growing,” Tracy said. “What’s cool about this model is that it is duplicable. We’ve got systems in place. We’ve got standard operating procedures in place. We can go into a market, train up a team, and turn it over. Then they have a business, and we get paid a royalty on their sales. It’s in my best interest to teach, train, and mentor these people for success.”

Tracy and Deano have retail spots in Digikey and Arctic Cat, and they are building out locations in Watertown, SD, and Hillsboro, ND.

“We’re trying to be the local energy dealers all over the place,” Tracy smiled.

Visit the Energy on Main Healthy Smoothie and Energy Bar Facebook page for more information.

Starting your own business? Advance Thief River offers business coaching and business navigation services. Read more here.

Join the TREK Facebook group.

You may also like…

Essix Company: Nurturing Creativity and Innovation

Essix Company: Nurturing Creativity and Innovation

Essix Company is a venture founded by a group of ambitious individuals who are carving out their own distinctive niche in the market by offering a diverse range of products, including custom clothing and handcrafted rugs. The company’s founders are Austin Potucek, Tucker Howe, and Jett Peters—three seniors from Lincoln High School.

read more
Dylan’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Dylan’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Dylan Nelson, the 29-year-old owner of Northern Gun and Pawn, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that began in middle school while he was working for a local scrap business. Over a span of 12 years, he buckled down and worked hard, hoping to eventually fulfill his dream of owning a business. After years of working there, he felt stagnant and unhappy and realized he was ready for a new challenge.

read more