OWOSSO — Hollie Drake has been helping area residents attain a healthier lifestyle through good nutrition and exercise for 2 1/2 years at her teaching wellness center, Healthy Living By Hollie, at 221 Ball St.
Now she’s expanding with a second location at 654 E. Main St., between Hardee’s and Qdoba. The store, also called Healthy Living By Hollie, offers vitamins, supplements, and some of the same goods and services available at the original store.
Until a couple of weeks ago, the second location housed Green Energy, a vitamin and health supplement business. Drake has purchased both the business and the building, a renovated house.
“It’s more exposure for us, and it’s a great location,” Drake, 53, said. “Adding the new store also allows people to choose supplements. We are growing, and it just made sense to pull the two stores together.”
For years, the former nurse offered health classes from her house in the Owosso area. In 2016, she published “Healthy Living By Hollie,” filled with recipes for 300-calorie meals and meal plans.
Her first store flowed from the book, where she sells healthy takeout meals — including salads, sandwiches, soups and snacks, exercise and nutrition classes, one-on-one coaching, massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology and sauna.
At the new location, clients can eat their meals, sip tea and chat together on an enclosed porch.
“I was a nurse for 30 years, and I don’t want to be reactive. I want to be proactive,” Drake said. “My gift is to teach. It brings people back to learn how they can be healthy.”
Many clients have lost weight on the road to health. One woman lost 90 pounds; another lost 50 pounds, Drake said. Judy Craig, who has baked health cookies at Healthy Living By Hollie for more than two years, sad she’s earning more than a wage.
“I think the healthy lifestyle I’ve learned here has been very helpful,” Craig said. “The challenge is sticking to things.”
Drake said widespread problems with obesity and other health woes in the U.S. make her approach to healthfulness as relevant as ever.
“Your diet effects everything,” she said. “I don’t like taking a pill if there’s an alternative.”
Drake’s history with her own illnesses was her first wake-up call. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and then, in 2012, with breast cancer.
“I realized my life needed to change. I needed to relax,” she previously said. “I needed to look at my exercise habits, which were poor, looking at what chemicals from food we eat, what was I putting into my body that could be a precursor to it. There are so many facets to why we get ill, and I think stress, for me, was a big one. I was working multiple jobs and trying to stay alive.”
But the second, bigger wake-up call was when she applied what she had learned to her husband. As he ate healthy meals, his cholesterol dropped from 210 to 150.
“I knew I had to help people,” said Drake, who lives in Owosso with husband Brian Drake. Their children are Tyler, Connor and Grant.
Hollie Drake has also helped herself. She has tested cancer-free for years and has no symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
“People come to lose weight but it’s about a healthy body. It’s about feeling good,” she said, adding her thanks to the community for supporting her efforts.