Like it or not, you can thank the game of football for introducing Tyler Eyerman to a healthy diet and also to the Wheeling area.
Eyerman was a freshman at Ohio University in Athens when his brother offered a crazy idea. He should transfer to Bethany College, where he was enrolled and tried out for the football team.
“I had never played football in high school either,” Eyerman said. “But that’s what I did, and I was a defensive tackle on the junior varsity team, and I ended up really loving it at Bethany because I got really involved with the student culture. I graduated a little more than a year ago, and I have been in Wheeling ever since.
“Plus, that’s how I got involved with a lifelong fitness regimen that I really enjoy now,” he continued. “Football started that process for me toward a healthy lifestyle change, and that is exactly why I am doing this now to make a living.”
Ultimately, that is why Eyerman’s new business, Fit Fuzion Nutrition Studio in Centre Market, will stage its official grand opening tomorrow morning beginning at 10:30 a.m. A few other small businesses will be on hand as well, including Massage Logic Spa, Pyles Elite Sports Performance Institute, and Goldbaugh Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation.
Fit Fuzion serves energy shakes with Herbalife products only, and herbal teas. Each 16-ounce beverage is priced at $5.99, but the shakes can be upgraded with the addition of toppings and other healthy products. The business, which opened on July 22, operates from 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily.
“We began with nine different flavor bases, and we added toppings and syrup to them, so by the time we were done, we now have over 70 different flavors to choose from,” Eyerman explained. “And they taste like a dessert milkshake. They really do. So far our most popular has been our white chocolate peanut butter cup. People love it.
“Even though it’s a satisfy-your-sweet-tooth sort of thing, it’s going to stick to your ribs and keep you full for a while,” he said. “And it’s going to give you the types of macronutrients that you need to burn energy in a healthy way throughout the day. It’s just like a well-rounded, nutritious meal.”
Thus far, Eyerman has received nothing but positive responses to Fit Fuzion, and he has been able to add a part-time employee to the business after being open for only one month.
“The reaction has been very positive and most people who have come in have told me that they have wanted a business like this in Wheeling for a long time,” Eyerman said. “Some people have even mentioned that they thought about doing it themselves and that they are glad someone finally has.
“Every day since our opening we have seen the demand grow and growth in our customer base,” he said. “And the reviews on our Facebook pages have been very positive, so it sure seems that people are loving what we are doing here.”
While he enjoyed the products during his four years at Bethany College, it was not his plan to become the owner of a small business.
“Soon after I graduated I had a job at Fox Run Center in East Ohio for about a year, and that position was in my major field because I studied education psychology. But after working in that industry for that year, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Eyerman explained. “I decided that I would rather be able to work toward my own success. That’s when I got interested in starting my own business.
“I returned to Mount Vernon to work for my friend at his store, and I realized how strong of a product Herbalife makes and that there was an opportunity to become an entrepreneur with guidelines,” he continued. “If you’re able to put the right kind of time into something like this, it can work out. Plus, I realized there was not this kind of business here in the Wheeling area, and I thought it would be a good market for this.
“I did take a leap, and now, instead of working 40 years per week, I am working more like 70 hours per week,” Eyerman added. “But that’s 70 hours per week that goes toward your own success, and that’s the big difference. That’s the kind of independence that is important to me.”
He’s also excited to be in business in the Friendly City at this time because of the economic development that has taken place at Centre Market and in the downtown district during the last decade.
“During my four years at Bethany I didn’t even realize that Centre Market existed,” Eyerman admitted. “But after I lived here in Wheeling, I finally found it, and I’ve been hanging out down here since. I really fell in love with this part of town.
“Initially, I stayed around Wheeling because of the job at Fox Run and because my girlfriend was working at Oglebay as a zookeeper so there was an opportunity for both of us to get started in our fields here,” he said. “I’m really glad I made the decision to stay here because I really, really like it here now, and it feels like a great time to be in Wheeling and to be a small business owner.”
(Photos by Steve Novotney)