A hurricane, a pandemic and a devastating burglary couldn’t stop Pensacola small business owner Matt Mercado from imparting his passion for healthy living on the community.
The Healthy Habitz smoothie, juice and snack bar rebranded and opened Sunday after a tumultuous finish to 2020. Mercado said the business, formerly known as Warriorfit Nutrition, needed a fresh start after the former police officer lost everything he worked for at the end of September.
“They smashed in here and literally stole every bit of inventory I had. My cash register, my iPad, all that,” Mercado said Tuesday from his fully revamped store on North Davis Highway. “So it was just really tough to recover from that. We decided just to start over.”
The concept at Healthy Habitz revolves around empowering the community to explore healthy food and drink alternatives.
“We do nutritional plans, health coaching, free wellness evaluations, and we do all of that to provide guidance to the community,” Mercado said. “It can start by coming in here and having a protein shake meal replacement and one of our energy bombs, which is also really good for the digestive system, mental clarity and focus.”
Fruit-based smoothies, chocolate and vanilla shakes and energy teas aimed at boosting metabolism highlight the drink menu. Healthy Habitz livens up some of its drink options with the occasional sugar-based topping like Fruity Pebbles cereal or a light chocolate syrup drizzle.
Then there are the photogenic protein waffles and protein doughnuts — because Mercado believes that healthy snacks don’t have to be boring snacks.
“What we do is take our protein shakes and mix them with water at a different consistency to make it thick, then we’ll add egg to make a batter used for waffles and doughnuts,” Mercado said.
“If anybody doesn’t want a shake and they want to eat some actual substance or some food, they can come in and still consume those 24 grams of protein, those 21 vitamins and minerals and add whatever enhancers they want that goes along with their diets.”
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High-protein açaí bowls are coming soon, as are “mean green” protein shakes anchored by vegetables like spinach and kale.
“Just trying to hit all avenues of health,” Mercado added.
Healthy Habitz is located at 6245 N. Davis Highway, Suite E, next door to Planet Fitness. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. it is closed Sundays.
“I really, thoroughly, had a passion for law enforcement and enjoyed it, but this is a more intimate way that I can see how I can change people’s lives and really help them on a different level,” Mercado added. “I’m not just a normal business owner that’s out to make a buck, I really want to make a difference in the community.”
Jake Newby can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8538.