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Locals sip up healthy smoothies

Locals Nutrition Studio owner Mandy Halligan makes one of her popular loaded ice teas. PHOTO/JOHN LAZO-RON

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Masterton woman Mandy Halligan is on a mission to help Wairarapa people turn over a new leaf when it comes to fast-food dining by offering a healthier alternative to those looking for a quick bite.

Halligan owns Locals Nutrition Studio on Jackson St. The store offers a range of nutritional beverages ranging from loaded ice teas, high-protein, low-calorie smoothies, post-workout smoothies, and high-protein coffee.

Halligan opened the store in December. It had since become popular in Wairarapa and beyond, attracting not only locals but also those from outside the region.

“We opened up with a bang, and it’s been booming ever since,” she said.

“I’ve had a lot of people come in and tell me since we opened up, they’re loving the nutritional option we have and really enjoying how they’re feeling after they’ve had it.

“I had one person travel six hours from the Bay of Plenty to come and try the nutrition here, really loving it and really keen to get something like this in their own town.”

Halligan, who has been a nutritional enthusiast for many years, said she always had a plan in the pipeline to help counter the fast-food trend in Masterton by providing healthy nutritional options for the community.

“Well, there’s such a need for it,” she said.

“You look around, and you can see people are tired. They’re not eating the right foods. There’s so many fast-food places, but there’s no options for people to come and get high-quality protein and nutrition in a healthy fast-food form where they can quickly get their energy up.

“I want to be able to impact people through nutrition, health, energy, good proteins. By having this store, people from Masterton and the Wairarapa as a whole can come in daily and get their nutrition on a daily basis nice, quickly, and simply.”

Halligan’s healthy beverages provided an alternative for high sugar energy drinks.

“A lot of the locals have told me how they used to drink a lot of V energy drinks, and now they’re having these options instead,” she said.

“They’re getting healthier options and getting the right stuff into the body, which is amazing.”

Halligan promoted the store through social media, offering a $1 discount to anyone who shared a post on their Facebook or Instagram story, which she said caught on quickly.

“Referral is the best advertising because it’s people telling others to come and check it out because they’ve already had the product. It’s been really cool how that has happened.”

Halligan said the business had caught the eye of others outside Wairarapa, with many asking whether she would open a Locals Nutrition Studio in their town. In contrast, others from Greytown and Wellington were in talks with her about opening a store for themselves.

“I’ve had people come in asking me to open other stores in other towns,” she said.

“There is such a need for healthy nutrition all over New Zealand with obesity stats and many doctor visits being diet-related.

“So hopefully soon, there’ll be more of this around.”

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