A Pal in New Palestine: New Pal Nutrition owner talks about her career journey and memorable moments – The Daily Reporter
By Elissa Maudlin
At a nutrition club that sells healthy energy drinks and protein shakes that “taste like dessert,” New Pal Nutrition owner Holly von Buchler stands behind the drink bar and talks to customers, wishing they “went out in a better mood than when they came in.” Plants stand in the club areas, chairs designed to support anyone’s weight hang from the ceiling, and a sign reading “Stay awhile” peeks out from the wall.
One customer, Kelley Stillabower, was staying with a friend near New Pal Nutrition, but said she would drive home for a drink.
“[Buchler’s] the place is the place with the best drinks,” she said, having come three to four times that week.
Buchler said most customers are recurring and come in daily or several times a week. Thanks to this, she gets to know “their families, their stories [and] their lives.”
Its beginnings did not come from the field of nutrition. She was an accountant for 18 years after college and started working at a nutrition club in Greenwood where she fell in love with the club’s products and atmosphere. It has become “[her] happy place.”
“I fell in love being there and meeting the customers,” she said. “Being behind a desk all the time, you don’t get a lot of interaction with people. So [I liked] being able to be in the club and see the people you impact.
Buchler knew she wanted to change her job as an accountant due to a lack of work-life balance before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. However, during the pandemic, as she worked remotely, the balance became easier and she didn’t want to return to the office.
“I just felt like it wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” Buchler said. “My heart was not in it. I realized during the pandemic how much my kids needed me at home and how much I needed to be home.
When she and her family were on a trip to Frosty Boys near where New Pal Nutrition is now, there was a sign in the window saying the building was available.
“If there’s going to be a sign for me to do something, it’s got to be like, ‘This is what you do,’ because I’m so indecisive,” Buchler said. “…and that’s when I was like, ‘Okay, this is what I’m supposed to do. Like that’s my sign right there.
On June 20, 2021, New Pal Nutrition opened as a nutrition club with protein shakes and healthy energy drinks from Herbalife products, nutrition coaching, and the ability for customers to purchase the products and prepare drinks and shakes at home.
She wanted to provide healthy options to people because healthy drinks and shakes from other nutrition clubs helped her lose weight and have more energy. She calls the products “healthy fast food.”
“I feel like a lot of people want to be healthy… [but] in everybody’s lifestyle right now, everybody’s so busy,” Buchler said. “…so being home and having a healthy home-cooked meal all the time isn’t really an option.”
Megan Johnson, a customer who comes to the nutrition club several times a week, said via email that she felt confident coming to the store that she was fueling her body with healthy products.
There are other Herbalife Nutrition Clubs, including a location in Greenfield called Greenfield Nutrition IN.
At New Pal Nutrition, the shakes are meal replacements and contain 7-24 grams of protein, 9g of sugar, 1g of fat, and 250 calories or less. Healthy energy drinks are not meal replacements.
However, some customers weren’t just talking about the products, they were also talking about the staff. Johnson said by email that Buchler and staff provide excellent customer service and are friendly.
Buchler said another customer referred to the business as a bar and said she took her coffee but also her “conversation.”[ing] in.”
“It’s like bars where everyone says, ‘Cheers,’ everyone knows your name,” Buchler said. “You walk in and I can tell you what they’re going to get, what their husband gets, what their kid gets.”
Steven Bales, a customer who usually comes to the club three times a week, said via email that Holly and the team knew he was going to get an Energy Bomb – the name of a drink New Pal Nutrition serves – at every time he came in.
“From day one they treated me (and all the customers) like family,” Bales said via email.
Another customer, Kristin Cowden, said by email that she started coming to the club as soon as it opened and was happy to have a healthy store so close to her home. She also said Buchler and the other staff were “always smiling and happy.”
One notable interaction Buchler said he had with someone while working at the company wasn’t from a customer — it was from a FedEx driver who wasn’t very talkative. It became her mission to get him to talk to her.
“One day he had told me he wouldn’t be here next week…then he kind of turned around as he walked through the door and was like, ‘Well, you know , I lost my wife last December, so I’m trying to save for her gravestone,” Buchler said. “…I just felt like something was telling him to tell me and he there was a reason I heard it.”
Eventually, she, employees and some customers raised $750 to help with the headstone and they gave the money to her in November.
“He just yelled and he said, ‘You know, people don’t do this for people like me,'” Buchler said.
Another customer told him that he would miss New Pal Nutrition during the move because the staff knew him and his family and “looked after [them].”
Buchler said she felt the business was impacting families in New Palestine and “…ultimately, that’s why [she’s] I do.”
” It’s a lot of work. That’s a lot of hours. It’s hard. But it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do,” she said. “…don’t expect to come in and make millions or anything. But you know, you’ll go to bed happy, I guess.