UP CLOSE | Small Business Spotlight – Meet Aida Flores and Eduardo Duarte of Total Nutrition Belmont LLC
UP CLOSE | Small Business Spotlight
Meet Aida Flores and Eduardo Duarte of Total Nutrition Belmont LLC
5550 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60641
How long have you been in business?
I started in 2008 learning about wellness and maintaining healthy habits, being proactive and changing my eating habits and doing this as a family. I first helped others in my small circle of influence. As I continued preparing myself with more specialized classes, I learned that there was a big need and desire for more information, and I wanted to help more people. So, 5 years ago, we opened our store where people could come and exercise, and we could coach them. We then also obtained our license to start offering healthy food and beverage items.
What products or services does your business offer?
We offer comprehensive programs for well-being and maintaining healthy habits for the whole family. We create nutritional programs, and we offer coaching and support for healthy weight loss, increased muscle mass, exercise plans, etc. In our retail store, we also offer protein shakes and soy-based healthy food, such as waffles, crepes, protein bowls, natural fruit, and energy beverages. We have support chats and communities where transformation challenges are carried out, where people feel motivated and encouraged to meet their personalized goals.
How did COVID-19 impact your business?
This was a difficult time for everyone. Our business was highly impacted because we could not meet in person to exercise as a team. A big part of a person’s motivation is this time that you spend with others with similar goals; we support each other, and this is important. In addition, we also offer healthy food items, and our daily sales and traffic were lower. But we were able to adapt our business format so that people could also take these items to go. We continue to connect with our clients on a personal basis.
How did it feel to have to confront the challenges you faced?
We felt challenged to find other ways to reach our clients every day and connect with them in the right format so that we could continue to offer the services they needed. While this time has been and continues to be challenging, it still made us create new strategies to continue with our daily mission, which is to build healthier and stronger communities.
How did you become connected to IHCC?
Through the Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors (NIJFON) organization, they came to our place looking for a way to support the community, especially during this pandemic that has impacted so many businesses. We were connected with the Cook County COVID-19 Recovery Small Business Assistance Program, which then introduced us to IHCC, where we received technical assistance.
How has working with IHCC helped you and your company?
It has helped us a lot. Sometimes, as small businesses, there is information that we do not know, and IHCC gives us business tools to continue advancing in a confident and calm way, knowing that we are on the right track. We feel very supported, because anytime that we have questions and doubts, they are there; their answers are very quick and helpful to be able to make important decisions. I am grateful that these organizations exist with such friendly people who have the knowledge and contacts that give us confidence and guidance. I believe all the small businesses that we start should leverage this important resource. Just reach out to them.
What have you enjoyed the most about working with IHCC?
That I have a clear guide and they quickly resolve my doubts. They are really very kind people, with a gift of service, who love helping others. I trust reaching them for business support.
What do you hope for your community and business moving forward?
Growth, as a business and for our clients. We are in the process of doing some remodeling work so we can have a better space to continue helping others with their journey to attain and maintain healthy habits. Our future goal is to help others open more centers like ours. We want to continue helping many members of my community and neighboring communities sharing our know-how to achieve wellness and health for the family. We want to create extra income and business opportunities for others, as it has worked for us. We hope to continue having the support of these great organizations.