The holidays don’t have to wreck your health goals. The entrepreneurs featured this month are committed to encouraging others and providing resources that keep a healthy lifestyle going all year. Get on board for lifetime change, a foundation of good nutrition, and movement that is fun and sustainable. These folks can help.
It was fun and friendship that helped Samantha Fulmer co-found Kuka Juice, and it is the desire to promote good food and good health that keeps her going.
“My best friend, Abigail, and I, we traveled together in South America after college,” Fulmer says. “Fresh juice was everywhere there. They eat such a whole, plant-based, really good, fresh diet.”
After returning home, the pair wondered why fresh juice wasn’t available to them here. They bought juicers and started making their own concoctions, including green juice. Fulmer says it ignited a passion.
“I ended up going back to school for nutrition,” she says. “When I finished school, I saw that there was a need.”
They started Kuka Juice together in 2014, handing out samples in downtown Greenville and then becoming a vendor at the Saturday Market.
“It just took off from there,” Fulmer says. Abigail Hall, Fulmer’s friend and partner, moved out of state in 2020, and now Fulmer is growing the business on her own.
“People have started to realize how important nutrition is,” Fulmer says. “‘You are what you eat’ really is true. Fresh, local, healthy food can taste really good. We started with juice and now we do salads, smoothies, sandwiches, smoothie bowls and soups. You can have a hearty, full meal that is really good for you.
”The business progressed from local delivery and market sales to a small store front and now, a prime location in the Village of West Greenville. That slow and steady growth – “the little engine that could,” according to Fulmer – has been deliberate.
“What we did really well in the beginning is that we started small,” she says. “We’ve never grown outside of our reach. We first focused on the juice and doing the juice really well, then added food. It has done us really well to grow slowly at a pace we can keep up with.”
Promoting tasty ways to good health is still what drives Fulmer. She says it is easy to second guess yourself as a small business owner, but following your passion is the key to making it work.
“You just have to take that leap and trust that,” she says.
View a menu and order online at kukajuice.com.
DeAndra Reasonover-Winjobi never misses a Monday morning workout. It sets the tone for her week and helps her lead by example, giving her clients and social media followers a little push to get moving. Her goal is to remove barriers to good health.
Reasonover-Winjobi has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health and has been a health coach and worked in injury prevention and other areas for years. Her business, VV Spot, takes her work from the community level and makes it very personal.
“Any way that we can create a healthy lifestyle and make the environment more conducive so people can eat right or move right or live a better lifestyle, I’ve done,” she says.
She launched VV Spot in 2018.
“I did that after I went vegan and I noticed how difficult it was to find good, vegan and plant-based options,” she says.
Clients were telling her that they were too busy to cook at home. They would primarily eat out, which would often make it difficult to find a healthy meal. That led to creating the online presence and then doing food tours. Before the pandemic, Reasonover-Winjobi’s popular tours gave participants a hands-on experience of eating out and eating well. As an added bonus, the tours were walking-only, emphasizing the need to incorporate movement into daily life.“
They were blown away with how easy it is to eat healthy outside of the house,” she says. “It was great to see. Some people even became friends by meeting on the tours.”
Though she has resumed private tours, public events are paused for now. During the pandemic, Reasonover-Winjobi expanded her focus to fitness, earning certifications in personal training and nutrition coaching and also becoming a group fitness instructor. She continues to work closely with physicians and registered dietitians to help clients find a path to health that will work for them.
“It’s 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent active living,” she says. “We were slowly moving toward a lifestyle approach, but COVID accelerated that.”
With a family history of disease and illness, a holistic approach to healthy living is personal for Reasonover-Winjobi. She is finding new and creative ways to help clients see the benefits, even offering fitness parties with everything from competitive activities to dancing. She says health goals are attainable.
“People find it difficult and I want to eliminate those barriers,” she says. “I don’t want anything stopping anyone from reaching their goals. I don’t like anyone suffering. I want people to live the best life they can.”
Learn more about services and where to find healthy meals at VV-spot.com.