DOWAGIAC — During the COVID-19 pandemic, one Dowagiac business is looking to give back to essential workers.
Last week, Lifestyle Nutrition, 56042 M-51 S., Dowagiac announced it would be launching a Pay it Forward project by delivering energy bomb tea drinks to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, March 23, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a stay-at-home executive order, which included the exception of essential employees who were need to sustain and protect people’s lives.
Lifestyle Nutrition’s owner Angela Johnson said the smoothie and juice bar does not accept tips or cash donations towards the business and instead puts any donations back into the community.
“We just wanted a way to pay back the community and still serve the essential workers,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the idea evolved from other nutrition clubs offering the program, which made it an easy decision for Lifestyle Nutrition to join in on.
So far, Lifestyle Nutrition has dropped off energy teas to the Dowagiac Fire Department, workers at Rite Aid Pharmacy in Dowagiac and to staff at Ascension Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.
Johnson is still looking to spread the word about the program to more members of the community. She is also encouraging people to send in locations in the Dowagiac areas that people think could use energy and positivity. Lifestyle Nutrition then plans to deliver energy bombs utilizing community donations to help keep essential workers going. Johnson said those interested in donating to the Pay it Forward project can Venmo @LNDowagiac.
“Some people haven’t heard of it yet,” Johnson said. “We called Rite Aid and did a drop-off at their pharmacy, and when I went in there, the ladies at the front hadn’t heard of it yet, but anyone can call or contact us and recommend a place.”
Johnson, who opened Lifestyle Nutrition in July 2018, said she has seen the community support her business as Lifestyle Nutrition remains open for curbside delivery. On March 16, Whitmer ordered all bars and restaurants to shutdown dine-in services.
The decision to remain open was a decided by both Johnson and her staff.
“We gathered the team that was able to work and figured out what hours worked for us,” Johnson said. “We knew we wanted to be open. We don’t let anyone in the building, and we only do curbside delivery. We clean throughout the day and then do a whole cleanup of the store at night.”
Johnson said most of her customers are from Dowagiac, however she has some customers who travel for work and stop through Dowagiac early in the mornings.
“Usually, we would be open at 6 a.m. and when school was still open, we would have people calling in before 6 a.m.”
Johnson said the store has still seen high traffic, just in different patterns and at different times of the day.
“It’s not the same each day and each week,” she said. “We are definitely still getting our regulars and new customers. It’s been really great, actually.”
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