Retailers and Startup and Small Biz Startups and Retail and Real Estate & Retail and Small Business

New shop offers nutrition, exercise advice

December 29, 2008

Business name: Point Blank Nutrition

Type of business: Nutritional supplement store

Location: 6402 Cornell Ave., upper level

Phone: 722-0611

E-mail: dave@pointblanknutrition.com

Web site: pointblanknutrition.com

Founded: March 2008

Owners: Dave Patania and Cory Black

Owners' background: Patania, 39, is a fitness expert for WTHR-TV Channel 13. He graduated in 1995 from the University of Cincinnati, then went to Xavier University for his master's degree in fitness. Patania also became a personal trainer and wrote a syndicated newspaper column. Black, 32, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2001 with a master's degree in chemical engineering. He founded a pharmaceutical consulting firm in 2004 and now owns Indianapolis-based COBH LLC, a real estate development and holdings company.

Why started business: After moving to Indianapolis in 2006, Patania needed something to fill his time when he wasn't working, and looked to fitness for an idea. "I just saw a need for a nutrition store for the average person," he said. He talked to his friend Black about opening their own nutritional supplement store, and they saw opportunities in the market.

Competitive advantage: Patania and Black researched their customer base so they could target a specific audience: average people concerned about their fitness, a market they say that large chains miss. "I think a lot of these stores underestimate how smart people are and how much they want to help themselves," Patania said. Black runs the store's Web site and Patania writes a blog with exercise tips and specific nutritional recommendations for different situations. Patania also uses his experience to create meal plans for customers (free of charge) and gives them exercise and fitness advice.

Point Blank also sponsors seminars from fitness experts and the store is used as a starting and ending point for several trail runs.

Startup cost: $50,000

Funding source: Self-funded

Projected first-year revenue: $300,000

Potential problem and contingency plan: With some products costing $42 per pound, Point Blank is targeting people with extra money in a tight economy, which isn't easy. "We knew the economy wasn't in that great of shape, but we saw the need for a focused, streamed-down inventory," Patania said.

Location was everything. They picked a site right off of the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple, hoping to attract folks who already were active. To combat tightening budgets, they carry products in different price tiers, hoping to appeal to people with any size budget.

First-year goal: They want to build another store in an "artsy" area of Indiana that will fit with their loft-style design.

Five-year vision: They would like to expand even further to cities like Chicago and Toronto. They also want to build an online community complete with forums and Patania's blog that would give customers strong ties to the store. 

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