Sydney Brummel—Staff Writer
When I stepped out of my car on a late Tuesday morning this semester, I was rudely greeted by a post-blizzard gust of wind straight to the face. The below-freezing air bit into my cheeks and quickly stiffened my gloved hands. It was the sort of weather that should have had me cozying up on my apartment couch under a blanket with a large mug of coffee in my hands, staring through a window at the winter day rather than experiencing it. Yet there I was, in the parking lot in front of Sinclair’s gas station, which had attached to it one of the newest businesses in Sioux Center—712 Nutrition.
A lot of buzz has been circulating in the northwest Iowa area about the new smoothie/shake shop that opened this summer in town. Word has spread via social media and word of mouth, and many Dordt students have likely heard of 712 Nutrition. Located right off of Highway 75 on Frontage Road, close to Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart, the new business is easily accessible. With its only sign being a pink sheet of paper attached to the front door, however, a potential customer needs to keep their eyes peeled lest they accidentally miss it.
Danielle Evers, the owner of 712 Nutrition, first opened her shop this summer on June 1 after getting the idea from a college friend. Her hope for the business is to encourage and support Sioux Center inhabitants to pursue a healthier, happier lifestyle.
“I got into health and nutrition after I needed to do something different in my own life because I just didn’t feel good and wasn’t performing to the best of my ability,” Evers said, “Once I saw the difference becoming healthy made in my everyday life, I decided I needed to help others. I absolutely love watching others transform their lives.”
Walking inside the shop, many Sioux Center natives may have their minds immediately called back to the original Subway in town. While the familiar tan wallpaper remains in 712 Nutrition, the shop itself is rearranged. Instead of a sub-making bar, there now stands high, angled countertop, behind which are an impressive ensemble of smoothie and shake ingredients. To the right of the bar is a table, upon which rests a large markerboard with an impressively extensive menu, featuring variations of different shakes, coffees, and teas.
“Everyone can find something they like, including kids,” Evers said. “All of our products come from Herbalife products.”
Brooklyn Van Oort, a junior nursing major, has visited 712 Nutrition several times over the past several months and appreciates the diverse selection of shakes.
“I like taking friends and watching them choose a shake or tea from the menu,” Van Oort said. “Whether you are a lover of chocolate fruit, vanilla, coffee, or any flavor in between, there’s a flavor for you.”
Although the shop was empty when I first visited, I felt welcomed by the music quietly playing from overhead speakers and the array of tables and chairs. When the woman behind the counter, Evers, asked what I would like to order, I was at first skeptical. It felt a bit odd, ordering a shake when the weather outside demanded hot chocolate. Thankfully, Evers provided me with several personal recommendations, and I was struck to learn about a “hot shake.” Per Evers’ suggestion, I ordered from the seasonal menu, purchasing a Pumpkin Cheesecake hot shake. My order appeared in a matter of minutes. Afterward, I paid, said goodbye, and exited 712 Nutrition with a hot shake warming up my hands.
As delicious as customers may find their ordered tea or shake, the price of their item may hinder them from quickly returning to 712 Nutrition.
“I don’t go often, as it is quite expensive,” Van Oort said. “I would recommend everyone at least try it, if their wallet allows.”
Still, Evers’s business successfully appeals to college students by offering healthier—but still delectable—alternatives to typical junk food and energy drinks.
“Our energizing teas are healthy and won’t give you a crash effect.” Evers said, “Not to mention that we have an athletic line that college athletes love.”
As an athlete and someone who works out frequently, Van Oort felt especially grateful for the health-based menu.
“Personally, I really appreciate that Dordt students have a healthy option when they want to eat off campus or need a meal to go,” Van Oort said. “The shakes are very protein-tasting, but it’s something that doesn’t bother me.”
Once I was seated back into my car and turned on the ignition, I took my first sip of my hot shake. My shivering body and hungry stomach immediately thanked me for today’s lunch. Despite the slight after-taste of protein powder when I had my shake, I was pleasantly surprised with the sweetness and warmth of my pumpkin cheesecake order—seasonal indeed.
Dordt students, even if you have to drive a few minutes across town as I did, I recommend dropping by 712 Nutrition, whether it be for a quick, healthy meal that will help you feel energized or for a little treat to get you through the day. Consider making a visit to the little shake and tea shop off of 75 if you have a few extra dollars in your pockets, especially on Tuesday, when all items are 10 percent off for college students. Don’t worry about if the weather is sunny and hot or bitter with snow; 712 Nutrition’s menu has got what you need to feel happy and healthy every day of the year.