When Alli Gardner sought out a new business opportunity, she was sure of one thing: it had to complement her existing health and wellness coaching business. A lifelong health and fitness enthusiast, Alli is a published author, holistic health and wellness coach, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy, with a background in Pilates instruction. She’s also received training as a health coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s cutting-edge training program, and studied over 100 dietary theories with the world’s top health and wellness experts. You could say Alli Gardner knows a thing or two about health and wellness.
“With my background as a health coach and being passionate about improving family and community health, I was frustrated only seeing junk in vending machines,” Alli says. “We work really hard to teach our three kids the importance of nutrition and what healthy food is.” In September 2014, Alli and her husband Tim took the plunge and invested in 10 HealthyYOU Vending machines to start Core of Health Vending.
In just over a year, Core of Health Vending has had the kind of success many hopeful healthy vending business operators dream about. Their healthy vending machines have a strong presence in Salt Lake City, Utah-area hospitals and emergency centers, and in several health-based call centers.
As the Gardners learned the ropes of their new healthy vending business, they realized that although their machines were originally placed in high-traffic locations, they were still located next to junk food vending machines. To better reach their business goals, Alli decided to move their machines to health-centered locations that were ready and willing to make a change and offer more nutritious options. “In a high traffic location like a hospital, where more people come and go, you have more opportunities to sell, ” said Alli. Even better, “The new locations were all ready to change and promote healthy eating. They got rid of their junk food machines in order to promote more healthy foods.”
Admittedly, their success hasn’t come without effort. “It was a big undertaking. We underestimated the amount of work and how much would go into it,” Alli says. It also took a while to figure out logistics, pricing, and what really sells in each different location.
Attending Healthy YOUniversity gave Alli a real-life glimpse of what they were getting in to, and while she found the wealth of information almost overwhelming at first, she also values what she learned. That includes learning to rely on HealthyYOU Vending’s Lifetime Coaching. “[My coach] has been invaluable; he’s on my speed dial,” stated Alli.
The Gardner’s initial healthy vending dreams included Tim being able to manage the business full time, but he’s held onto his day job while they learn the ropes. In the meantime, Alli primarily manages their 10 healthy vending machines in addition to her health and wellness coaching business. “An hour per machine per week doesn’t sound like too much to add into your already busy life, but it’s a lot when you put it into practice,” Alli says. Over time, they’ve found a balance that works: “We tag team. He’ll do the shopping, I fill the machines.”
The Gardners have plans to expand Core of Health Vending in 2016, and Alli embraces “the opportunity to promote health in the local community, along with the flexibility and the challenge of finding new locations and figuring it all out.”
We’d call that the core of success.