Have you decided that it’s time to start a healthy habit? You aren’t alone. In fact, 93% of Americans have a goal of eating healthy. But, there can be a lot of guesswork that goes into preparing nutritious meals.
Fresh Fit Meals, a meal prep company based in Urbandale, Iowa, is on a mission to help those who want to live a healthier life. The company takes pride in developing and preparing more than 40 well-balanced food options that are easy, accessible and affordable and that can fit any lifestyle. They simplify healthy eating one dish at a time.
Read how a team of savvy business owners came together to purchase a meal prep company and found success with the help of Northwest Bank.
Taking a Leap of Faith During Uncertain Times
As a former wrestler, Aaron Anderson always was conscious about wellness and staying healthy. He decided to put his passion for wellness to work by joining Fresh Fit Meals in 2017 as the general manager for Iowa. The small business’s owners were based in Texas at the time. During his time as general manager, he worked alongside Becca Tuninck, a registered dietician, and Angel Kitto, a chef.
“I worked at Fresh Fit Meals for a few years, growing the business and its operations,” said Aaron. “After briefly pursuing a different opportunity, I decided to come back to the company right before the pandemic.”
The pandemic was difficult on the small business, so the previous owners decided to put the company up for sale in 2020. This created an opportunity for Aaron, Becca and Angel, who had an interest in buying the business.
“When the previous owners decided to sell Fresh Fit Meals, we saw it as an opportunity to change lives,” said Aaron. “I’m a big believer in a positive mindset, so I’ll always see something good that comes out of an opportunity that seems challenging.”
The trio decided to take a leap and purchase Fresh Fit Meals in August 2020.
“Owning a business takes a lot of risk, and there was a lot of uncertainty that we faced,” Becca said. “But, we did it. Ever since then we’ve been helping our customers achieve a healthy mindset through our meals.”
Growing a Healthy Business and Client Base
Through hard work and a dedicated customer base, the company has seen around 220% growth – more than doubling its business.
“It’s a people game for me, which is why I love running this business,” Aaron explained. “It’s great seeing our employees be able to grow into different roles and positions within the company. And from the customer side, when you see their A1C levels drop if they are diabetic or if they lose weight and are completely transformed. It’s exciting to see what they’ve accomplished and be a part of their story.”
The company has also grown its employee base to approximately 15 employees. Henry Fisher is the general manager at the Urbandale location.
“When I heard about Fresh Fit and how easy and healthy it is, I immediately believed in the mission,” said Henry. “I applied for the job and haven’t looked back. I really enjoy helping others with their health journey.”
All of the 40 meals offered are gluten-free, dairy-free and low-carb and are switched out every few months. The food is cooked and packed daily at their Urbandale location so customers can easily grab a meal and go.
“All of our meals in the cooler are fully prepped, so our customers don’t have to do any prep work or calculate the nutrition or calories,” said Becca. “It's all laid out for them.”
Meals can also be preordered. Customers can either pick the food up or get it delivered to their home in the Des Moines metro area. The company hopes to start shipping meals across Iowa in the future.
Building Success with the Right Banking Partner
After having success at its Urbandale location, Fresh Fit Meals decided two years ago they wanted to expand and add another location in Ankeny. They partnered with Marcus Christensen, Commercial Banker at Northwest Bank, to help with the process.
“We had banked with a large national bank for a while, but they were slower and not as responsive,” said Aaron. “Becca’s father had a connection with the bank and referred us to Marcus. He’s very easy to work with, flexible and responsive.”
The company took out an SBA loan to help with the purchase of the Ankeny facility. During that time, Fresh Fit Meals opened a business account with the bank. They later applied for an equipment loan for their kitchen. They also use such banking services as business online to check their accounts at any time and Automated Clearing House (ACH) to help streamline the payroll process.
“Northwest Bank takes pride in assisting local small businesses like Fresh Fit Meals,” said Marcus. “They aspired to grow their business and that’s where we stepped in. We want to help them achieve their goals and do what's in their best interest to help them be successful.”
Looking to the future, Fresh Fit Meals is focused on adding more locations across Iowa to make their food more accessible. They are excited to work with Northwest Bank on future expansion opportunities.
“Our company is big on relationship-building with our customers and want to continue working with a bank that aligns with that,” said Aaron. “We look forward to building our relationship with Northwest Bank as we continue to grow.”
Our commercial banking team helped Fresh Fit Meals grow its business and became a partner to the company. Let us help you get started. Contact a commercial banker today.
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