ELLSWORTH — Ever since Jayme Gibson opened the doors of Ellsworth Nutrition to the public April 7 she has rarely stopped moving. The new business, at 270 High St., has been crowded from day one. Open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., its hours may extend for the summer.
“We are starting out to see what the community wants,” Gibson said.
A protein shake and tea bomb shop at the moment, she plans to expand the menu to include some healthy food options, too.
“But again, we are trying to see what the community is interested in,” Gibson said.
However, serving only shakes and tea, Gibson has had to hire a half dozen more people since Ellsworth Nutrition opened.
“We had 20 people and just cleared out,” she noted shortly after noon one week after opening day. “It’s exceeded our expectations.”
A former shift trainer at The Olive Garden in Bangor, Gibson corralled some of her former co-workers to make the drive to Ellsworth to help create and serve her shakes and smoothies, avoiding the hunt for scarce employees in the region.
“They’re all my old co-workers,” she said. “I pay quite a bit above minimum wage, and they make tips. They’re averaging really good pay, and they’re happy.”
That is fortunate, as she said the 100 applicants who submitted resumes online never returned her calls.
“It’s been a struggle,” she said.
Gibson also is receiving some help from husband Jacob Grandmaison, who chips in a couple days each week, while holding down his full-time position at Darling’s Auto Mall. He handles everything technical, including the online menu and social media, Gibson said, “because I don’t have time.”
Gibson turned to opening her own business from a desire to spend more time with her two young children. She chose Ellsworth because the community was so welcoming, she said, and opened a shake-and-tea shop because she loves the product.
“I’ve been drinking the teas and shakes for a couple years,” she said.
The tea bombs are all green-based teas, with a wide choice of flavors and a natural energy boost available, so “you get an energy drink without the crash or the jitters or [heart] palpitations,” Gibson said. Her personal favorite? The Beach Bum, with pineapple, strawberry and pomegranate flavors. When she wants a protein shake, which are whey-based with sugar-free flavorings, she chooses White Chocolate Raspberry. Caffeine-free hydration drinks are also on the Ellsworth Nutrition menu.
“I’ve had people that come three times a day,” she said. “I’m surprised, as they’re not cheap.”
That may be the case, but each protein shake is as filling as a meal while tasting like a creamy, rich milk shake — or so this reporter discovered.
Gibson also attributes her early and big crowds to social media.
“I think it’s Facebook,” she said. “Everybody tells me someone shared a photo of a drink on Facebook. And a lot of the community has supported us. It’s all about networking.”