Deployed multiple times to combat zones, Bryce Bullman was looking for something a bit more low key when he began thinking about his retirement from the military. Owning a small business with his wife, Amy, seemed like the right fit.
Ten years ago the couple opened Nutrishop, a fitness and wellness-based store located on U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines. Neither had any experience working in retail at the time.
“There was a lot of naivete. We were just like, let’s do this. We were a little bit overconfident,” Amy said. “But we’ve been blessed in this town and it is a wonderful place to own a business. This is such a supportive community. I’m not sure we would be as successful somewhere else.”
A former school teacher, Amy attended a required franchisee training with Nutrishop and then oversaw the store upfit and initial start-up while Bryce was serving in Afghanistan. Today she continues to run the day-to-day operations and Bryce works for a military contractor.
Bryce credits the Small Business Center at Sandhills Community College for providing support early on and said the military is also doing a better job these days with providing entrepreneurial support for transitioning service members.
“Our advice to couples who think they might want to start a business is to make sure they are having those conversations. What do you want the business to look like in five years? In 10 years?,” he said. “We would not discourage anyone from doing business here. It’s just definitely in terms of their overall vision for their life, we would recommend having more of those kinds of conversations.”
“The other thing I was not prepared for is the family relationships you build up with your employees and customers,” Amy said.
For the last three years, Nutrishop has sponsored the Guns and Hoses wellness challenge for local first responders. They’ve also partnered with The Sway to produce a “Ring the Alarm” calendar that celebrates the finalists each year.
“We have a lot of police officers and firefighters that come here to the shop and hang out. We thought this would be something to give back. We feel in this community we do honor the military so much, but not necessarily our first responders,” Bryce said. “It’s been a great competition between them, a good, clean rivalry.”
Recently Nutrishop also installed a new body machine that measures visceral fat — a health indicator — and can provide a breakdown of a person’s total weight by skeletal mass, muscle and body fat. The report is provided as a free service the first time and is always free thereafter for regular customers.
“Our purpose is to help people manage their nutrition and give them knowledge as far as what is available and what can be helpful,” Bryce added. “We carry stuff from everyday vitamins to specialty supplements. Nutrition is not just for people who work out.”
Find Nutrishop at 10725 South U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines or online at https://www.facebook.com/nutrishopsp/