Doing good is more than just a motto for SERV Nutrition — it’s the state of the startup’s operation seven months into business, Isaac Collins said as the company’s patented protein pods hit shelves at Price Chopper and Hen House stores across the metro.
“Online sales have been going well, but we saw a great need to be able to make [Prodrops] more accessible to people where they are, especially here in Kansas City,” Collins, co-founder, said of the deals that will elevate consumer exposure to its pods — single-serve protein powder encased in a dissolvable film.
Click here to learn how SERV’s three co-founders developed Prodrops and how each purchase serves a purpose.
“We started with the Price Chopper families … Queens, McKeevers, Cosentinos, Balls. They all own their own Price Choppers and Hen Houses. We went from one to the next,” he said, noting SERV will test Prodrops at three to five store locations within each ownership group.
Should the trial run prove successful — and Collins believes it will — SERV will expand its footprint from online sales to the grocers’ more than 70 locations across both sides of the state line, he noted, adding SERV’s expansion into the grocery aisle won’t stop with the two chains.
“We’re also working on Hy-Vee,” Collins revealed. “That’s a really big fish for us because they have made a great push the past five to 10 years in their health market and they push a lot of health products, including protein powders.”
With 33 locally owned Hy-Vee stores, even more territory remains for SERV to claim.
“We’re starting at the ground level with one [store] again to test it and then we’ll start making the rounds to all Hy-Vee locations from there,” he explained of what could come.
“People are buying our product all over the city, but they’re asking how they can save money on shipping or how they can just get it faster and not have to wait those couple of days [for shipping],” Collins said of increasing local demand for Prodrops and the company’s decision to pursue a more traditional distribution model.
“I think people are getting over the initial shock factor of, ‘Oh, there’s this film around this protein that I don’t want to consume.’ … Grocery was an easy way [to get customers the product] because there’s a Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, or a Hen House within three to five miles of pretty much anyone anywhere in the city,” he said.
Click here to find out if SERV has landed on shelves in a store near you.
“Our goal is to capture the whole market of Kansas City while we’re also focusing nationally,” Collins said. “And [grocery stores are] the easiest way for us to spread our wings.”
Such national reach might not be too far off, he added, noting the company has recently partnered with Mr. Checkout — a national network of independent distributors with a 35,000-store reach, made famous on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
“They’re the middle man between retailers and wholesalers to be able to get new companies into their operations,” he explained. “That’ll be big for us because they can actually target [Prodrops] and they’re going to hit up a lot of the [well-known] supplement stores.”
Reaching this point in SERV’s journey hasn’t come without its share of struggles, reflected co-founder Austin Wilcox.
“Every time we kind of reach one of our goals and break through an obstacle, it brings more obstacles, but I feel that we’re better suited to take them on,” he said. “A lot of startups don’t see this kind of success in the first year of business or even two years of business. So we’re really happy with the way things are going and excited for the future.”