KINGSPORT — There aren’t too many places you can find a fast meal you won’t regret later. But the folks at Kingsport Nutrition are hoping to change that.
Kingsport Nutrition offers meal-replacement shakes and loaded teas for a healthy alternative to typical food you can get on the go.
“It’s fast food for healthy people,” said Betsy Gray, one of the co-owners of Kingsport Nutrition. “We have a lot of good healthy choices for folks. It makes a good healthy breakfast and lunch. You can balance that out with a healthy dinner and you’re in good shape for that day.”
The store has been open for two weeks. Already, patrons are filtering in, perusing the lengthy list of protein-filled shakes and fruity teas. On Friday, just an hour before closing time, a young girl came by for a Fun Fest tea with a bit of added raspberry flavor. Later, two women came by to try an orange cream shake.
“We already have regulars that come in every single day,” Gray said. “Some come in and get the same thing, and some say they’re working their way down the menu. They want to try everything.”
The shakes have 200 to 250 calories, 24 to 27 grams of plant-based protein and 24 vitamins and minerals. They also contain five to 10 grams of sugar and 15 grams of carbs. There are 50 different shake options that range from decadent chocolate options like the Chocolate Elvis to fruity selections like the Lemon Shortie or Strawberry Banana.
The teas contain 24 calories, antioxidants, vitamin B and vitamin C and aloe for digestion and absorption and no sugar. Options range from choices like Georgia Peach and Vol Tea to the Miami Vice to the Kingsport-inspired Fun Fest loaded tea, which Gray said has been a favorite so far.
“Fun Fest tea is a lavender lemon,” Gray said. “It’s mild, refreshing and you can add a strawberry, topping, orange flavoring or grape. It’s delicious.”
The Kingsport Nutrition team includes Gray and her son, Drew Korzybski, along with Gray’s husband, Aarron, and Korzybski’s wife, Savannah. Gray said the group decided to bring the shop to Kingsport to offer healthy options that the family also enjoys.
“We started visiting some (similar) stores in Knoxville and we loved it,” Gray said. “We’ve always been health conscious. Drew was a student-athlete all through college. So this piqued our interest, but when we started trying everything we were like, ‘This is fantastic.’ ”
Korzybski played baseball at East Tennessee State University.
He said he felt a place that offered healthy food on the go is a great alternative to typically unhealthy fast food — and one he might have utilized during his college days.
“They have pregame meals now,” Korzybski said, “but we always had to go to Bojangles or Subway. … I really wanted (the store) to be close to D-B. I have some buddies who played baseball at D-B, and they said, ‘It’d be really helpful if there was something here that wasn’t fast food or greasy,’ something that is going to fill you up and make you feel full but not make you feel groggy.”
For Kingsport resident Cheryl Rice and her friend Ann Gross, the decision to try Kingsport Nutrition for the first time was an easy choice after seeing the healthy details.
“These are low calorie and plant-based. There’s hardly any sugar,” Rice said. “I wanted something refreshing, and this was the first thing that came to mind because I hadn’t been here before.”
Apart from offering healthy shake and tea options, Gray said Kingsport Nutrition also aims to offer a welcoming atmosphere.
“Kids roll around on the rug and the couch and (their parents) will say, ‘They just feel right at home,’ ” Gray said. “That’s exactly what we were going for. We didn’t want folks to feel like this is anything other than a comfortable place to be.”
The store also offers Wi-Fi, tables and a couch, which Gray said she hopes will be utilized by customers wanting a place to work or for people to meet in small groups.
It’s also a place Gray and Korzybski want to share with their family, friends and community all in the heart of Kingsport — with maroon and gray walls inspired by Dobyns-Bennett just down the street.
“If you’re going to open a store in Kingsport, what other colors are you going to go with?” Gray laughed.
For Gray, it’s also about bringing the store to the place she and her family will always consider home.
“We just believed this was an option that Kingsport needed,” Gray said. “We have so many customers that come in and say, ‘We’re so glad you came here and not Johnson City.’ This is home base for our family. Our hearts are in Kingsport.”
Kingsport Nutrition is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store is located at 1137 N. Eastman Road in the Green Acres Shopping Center.
For more information, go to www.kingsportnutrition.com