T Nation

Thinking of Opening a Supplement Store

I live in a medium sized community, with no other sports related nutrition companies to speak of ( Wal-Mart), and I am thinking of opening a supplement store. If anybody has tried such a venture, can you please discuss some pros and cons with me? I don’t need to get rich, I just need to make a decent profit. (This is in Colorado)

I do not want to go chain, so if that factors in please discuss.

What is the market like in your area?

Are the customers passing or will they need to specifically know where it is to go there?
Just because there is no other business like that in the area - don’t forget that the internet is the cheapest place for supplements and as such most simply order online for free or cheap shipping.

Then there is the fact that the reason there is no store there already, might be simply because there is no demand for one - as not many train, less use supplements and of those that do… the internet is where they shop.

I am not trying to put you off - but you should have answers to these questions and more before you buy a store front mate.

I would also suggest (from my experience witnessing supplement only stores struggle for years now) thet you do not specialise in just supplements - they are just better suited to online trading - so also sell something else (PT, Training gear/chains etc. whatever…)



not sure if this will help you. In my area there are a couple of Natural Supplement stores which sell a bunch of herbal vitamins, organic teas, organic/natural soaps & cosmetics & some sport supplements. They seem to be doing okay in buisness because they’ve been around for some time now.

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The one here by me is basically a room with powder and pills on shelves. The place ia always swarming with people.

I contemplated opening a brick and mortar supplement store about 2 years ago. I live in a small community in the Midwest, and there was only one GNC within a 30-40 mile radius of my proposed store. Lucky for me, I opened a gym instead, which has been a surprising success. I’ve added a small supplement section to it. They’ve sold well, but there’s no way I could have made enough to cover my expenses and make a profit if I just sold them.

Since then I’ve expanded online with a membership type supplement club similar to Costco, which also has been doing great. I just wish Biotest would release more products for distribution. Then I wouldn’t have to buy Surge out of my own pocket.

I agree with Brook. They’re a great add-on item though.

If you’re looking for something, I’d take a look at a fitness center, especially in small towns. My gym is located in a town of only 3500 people, but our membership averages around 200-250 per month (I also have tanning). I’ve been talking to Snap fitness the last couple months about opening a Snap (mine is independent) in a nearby town. According to the Snap guy, the gyms that are doing the best for Snap are located in small rural communities. I’d never open a Snap due to price, but I’d open another gym if I had the time. Used commercial gym equipment is extremely cheap right now.

If I worked 40-50 hours per week at my gym, I’d easily make $50-60k per year. However, I’m a pharmacist so it’s not in my best interest to work that much there.

Some of the non-chain supplement stores that seem to do the best business are located near a gym(s) and have a smoothie bar type thing. You can really gouge people on a PWO shake and them don’t seem to have a problem paying it.