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Brother, sister open Hardin Valley Nutrition
Nancy Anderson, Shopper News
Hardin Valley Nutrition opened with a bang, seeing a steady stream of customers on opening day.
Owners Lauren and Landon Hensley gathered employees for an official ribbon cutting to mark the occasion Wednesday, Oct. 21.
“We really didn’t know what today would bring. it’s been a bumpy ride, but we’ve seen a pretty steady stream of customers since opening at 10 a.m. Normally, we open at 7 a.m. so you can stop in before work,” said Lauren.
The store offers low carb, low sugar, KETO and Weight Watchers-friendly meal replacement shakes and loaded energy teas.
“The protein shakes make for a great breakfast and lunch. They don’t taste like protein shakes and we have over 50 different flavors. The pecan pie tastes exactly like pecan pie. They are delicious,” Lauren said.
The shakes feature 24-27 grams of plant-based protein, 24 essential vitamins and minerals, 5-10 grams of sugar, 10-14 carbs, and 200-250 calories.
The power packed loaded energy teas have 24 calories, 200 mg of caffeine, and no sugar.
“The loaded energy teas are really good for you and they’re very popular. You don’t have that afternoon slump like you do with some energy drinks. It has oolong tea, green tea, black tea, vitamins including B12. It has ginseng and guarana to keep you alert and focused all day,” Lauren said.
The original store is Bearden Nutrition. Hensley worked at the store for three months and knew she wanted to open her own franchise. She partnered with her brother Landon to open Hardin Valley Nutrition.
“The Nutrition stores are all a close knit community. We’re all sisters of the original Bearden Nutrition and we all use the elephant logo.”
The elephant represents Ella Armstrong, the daughter of the owners of Bearden Nutrition. She passed away from heart disease two years ago. Each store, no matter the location, features an elephant logo in her honor.
Lauren and Landon Hensley are no strangers to the area, as they are both graduates of Grace Christian Academy.
They said they’d like to open a Karns Nutrition in the heart of Karns to more widely serve the community.
The store is at 10612 Hardin Valley Road. Store hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Info: Find Hardin Valley Nutrition on Facebook.
Virtue Road construction project awarded to Bell & Associates
Gabriela Szymanowska, Shopper News
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen called a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 26 to discuss the bids for the Virtue Road improvement project.
The contract had five bidders: APAC-Atlantic Inc., Bell & Associates Construction LP, Whaley Construction LLC, McKinnon Construction Company LLC, and Rogers Group Inc.
Mayor Ron Williams said he was happy to have five bidders on the contract.
“I’m just glad we had this many folks that bid on it. We’ve been a little light on bids in recent years on contracts,” Williams said. “So we were lucky to have one, sometimes two at best. But with this many, I think … maybe (it’s gotten) someone’s attention as far as this type of project. I don’t know that I would have a preference of one over the other. In all actuality, I’m just glad to see that we have multiple bids.”
Town staff recommended that the board award the contract to Bell & Associates, which bid $2,865,058.70, the lowest of the five. The vote was unanimous, although the town has not contracted with them in the past. However, the construction company has done work within Knoxville.
Bell & Associates is based out of Brentwood, with both a transportation division and local presence. Ray Bell founded Ray Bell Construction in 1970, laying the groundwork for the current Bell & Associates, which was started in 1997, according to the company’s website.
It has led over 1,000 construction projects across the Southeast, including the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Smart-Fix 40 in 2008, which included replacing 2.5 miles of freeway, 9.2 miles of ramps and roadways, 25 bridges and more in central Knoxville.
The project itself includes improvement to 4,200 feet of Virtue Road from Kingston Pike to south of Broadwood Road with a new bridge built over Little Turkey Creek and the construction of an 8-foot wide greenway on the eastern side of the road.
Both Aldermen Ron Pinchok and Drew Burnette inquired about possibly working with Whaley Construction, as the town has worked successfully with them in the past. Whaley Construction bid $2,890,603.51 on the contract, a $25,544.81 difference from Bell & Associates.
Ultimately, Town Administrator David Smoak said the staff looked at the qualifications of the bidders and that it would be OK for the town to go with the lower bid.
In addition, Town Engineer Darryl Smith, who was also in on the meeting, would be overseeing the project along with other town staff.
“I recognize Alderman Pinchok’s kind of way of thinking — just in, we do want to have good established partnerships with the vendors,” Alderman Scott Meyer said. “I think that I would like to expand and have multiple vendors that we have good partnerships with and so, I also think the $25,000 difference can be used to fund other items like a part-time FTE or something like that.”
Old routines ease anxiety
Leslie Snow, Shopper News columnist
I make him breakfast because I can. He smiles when I put a plate of pancakes, which he didn’t ask for, in front of him along with a cup of coffee. “Do you want a couple of fried eggs? Or some bacon? I don’t mind making you something else,” I say, eagerly. Ethan laughs and says, “I’m fine, Ma. I have everything I need.”
It’s Ethan’s first visit since early summer. Even with the increased COVID risk, I’m happy he’s home. I’m happy to see him sitting at his usual spot at the kitchen counter. We fall into all our old routines. I cook his meals while he sits at the counter and tells me about his worries.
I ask him about work, and he starts talking. He tells me about the new rotation he’s doing in sales as part of his management training program. He likes sales a lot, he says, but it’s stressful.
“Every week begins with a new sales goal, and every week I feel pressure to sell more. Even though I almost always meet my quota, I can never relax because I know it’s just temporary. Come Monday, I start all over again with a new sales goal. I’m anxious every Monday and relaxed every Friday.” Then he adds, thoughtfully, “I don’t sleep as well as I used to.”
I say all the things he wants to hear. I remind him he’s only been in sales a few weeks and that he’s performing well. I assure him that he’ll get used to the pressure and won’t feel it as intensely. “Things that are hard at the beginning start to feel routine over time,” I promise him. “And if you decide working in sales isn’t right for you, that’s OK too.”
He listens to everything I say. And while I comfort him, a wave of deja vu washes over me. We’ve done this before. We’ve had conversations like this one so many times over the years; Ethan sitting at the kitchen counter sharing his worries, me offering advice and wondering what’s sinking in.
“What if I tell you I want to move home again?” he asks with a mischievous grin. “Is there room in the basement for me? Will you still make me breakfast if I come home? Even if I’m 24 years old?”
And because we’re in our usual spots, saying all the usual things, I know how I’m supposed to answer.
“Of course you can come home again. You can always come home, even when you’re 24, even when you’re 64.” Then I give him a quick hug, and with a teasing smile, I say, “If you want to be a basement kid, you can always be a basement kid. Even when you’re not a kid anymore.”
I don’t know how I would have responded if I thought Ethan was really planning to move back home to live in my basement. But that’s not what this conversation was about. Ethan is doing great at his job and has no plans to move home. But that doesn’t mean his life isn’t stressful.
Growing up is hard. Being an adult is challenging and so is starting a new career. Ethan needs to know that his home will always be there waiting for him, that no matter how stressful his life becomes, he’ll always have a safe place to land and his mom waiting for him. With a cup of hot coffee and a plate of pancakes he didn’t have to ask for.
Leslie Snow may be reached at snow [email protected]
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