By Susan Elise Campbell
Business is going smoothly for the new owner of Irresistible Nutrition at 53 Broad St. along Waterford’s historic canal.
Timothy Van Sleet purchased the tea and smoothie bar in February and attributes the rapid growth of the business to social media marketing and support from his family of entrepreneurs, he said.
“Irresistible Nutrition was always a tea shop, a beautiful store in a charming town,” Van Sleet said. “But when I took over, our social media postings drew thousands of views and many visitors are now regulars.”
Van Sleet was working at FedEx at the time his wife, Candace Rockefeller, was having their second child. After maternity leave he became a stay-at-home dad while Candace re-entered the work force.
Once he and Candace decided to go into business for themselves, Van Sleet set his sister to work finding an existing business to purchase. He was determined he “didn’t want to work for the man but to be the man.”
“My mother owns Unbeatable Nutrition on Hoosick Street in Troy and my twin sisters operate it,” he said. “She was always an entrepreneur and had a real estate business and a book shop.”
It was Van Sleet’s sister who taught him how to make lit teas, which have energy boosting ingredients, he said. She also located a business for him to invest in.
“Four days later I was purchasing a tea shop,” he said.
Irresistible Nutrition operates not as a franchise but as a nutrition club, which is the Herbalife business model for its line of nutritional supplements, protein shakes, weight management programs and related products.
“The club means you sign up to become a coach, have home parties, give out samples and use other ways to market the products and teach people about direct sales,” he said.
According to the corporate website, Herbalife’s mission since 1980 has been to “improve nutritional habits around the world with great-tasting, science-backed nutrition products.”
Van Sleet said he posts a different “tea of the day” on the shop’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and customers enjoy seeing what flavor is coming up that day. He also has some fun thinking up different colorful teas for changing themes like Earth Day or Superhero Day.
“There is something for everybody,” he said. “Our typical customer is not a certain kind of person and you don’t have to be a health freak to come here.”
Some are boaters from the nearby marina, park visitors, canal walkers, and others who will be spending more time outdoors as the weather warms and the town celebrates the opening of the canal and other community events, said Van Sleet. Others come into town to shop or do business.
“Caffeine-free drinks are healthy alternatives and great for kids, too,” said Van Sleet. “There are no sugars or caffeine in the ingredients, which is much healthier for kids playing sports.”
“I learned from first-hand experience that our teas and shakes are good for hydration before or after a workout,” he said. “They also replenish the body’s electrolytes.”
Herbalife produces all its protein powders from organic, plant-based ingredients, which make the shakes a healthy choice for a quick meal, he said.
“A protein shake is a good option for meal replacement,” he said. “It is better than fast food because you are filling up with good nutrition.”
With Candace working in the shop, Van Sleet has achieved his goal of keeping the family close, especially with the couple’s five-year-old and one-year-old coming into the business on weekends.
“My kids’ favorite drinks are the teas, especially Rainbow Tea because of the vibrant colors,” he said. “They like to mix up the colors like the characters from Paw Patrol. But they enjoy the way the shakes taste, too.”
Search Irresistible Nutrition on Facebook and Instagram, open daily, for more information.