In 2020, Michael Ledford found himself gaining weight and at a standstill in his previous job. He decided that he needed something to help with the extra pounds and fatigue, but he also knew it was time to take his career to the next level. As a corporate salesperson for more than 20 years, Ledford had done his fair share of climbing the ladder. The next feasible step he could see in his future would be to venture out and start his own business.
Ledford had recently begun using a high-energy, low-calorie supplement called Herbalife. And since he knew how well the products worked, he decided to see if it was worth a business investment.
"I had a good understanding of the products because I was using them, and I just thought where can I put one of these? People need this,” said Ledford.
His friends in Alexander City answered that question quickly and easily for him. Although not originally from Alexander City, Ledford has been a visiting staple here for more than 25 years and has many strong friendships in the area. And when he started toying with the idea of opening a nutrition shop for healthy living teas and shakes, those friends welcomed him with open arms.
“I was talking to a friend one day, and she said, 'Bring it to Alex City. We have nothing like that here.’ And so, I started kicking the idea around a bit. Alex City is five hours from my home, and while I come here all the time, I always go back home," Ledford said.
Ledford said he turned to prayer for guidance about what to do. The idea seemed like one he could not pass up, but there were definitely challenges that he would face.
“When you start a business, you have to be there. So, I knew it would be a life change,” he said. “Traveling was nothing new to me, but I wanted to be able to work from home and travel. So, I prayed, and it was through prayer that I decided that coming to Alex City is what I needed to do.”
That was when Ledford began his quest for a storefront. He started researching and procuring interest, space and licenses to setup the business.
“I put my faith in and said , 'let's do it.' I first found two buildings on Main Street and thought that is where I was going to go. But that fell through," he said. “I was beginning to get frustrated. I began to think, – maybe this isn’t where I’m supposed to go. But then, I pulled into this parking lot to make a phone call and get my thoughts together, and there, in the window of this shop, was a sign that said ‘closed.’”
Ledford picked up the phone and called one of his buddies that belongs to the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. He inquired about the building on Broad Street and learned that the previous business was closed. The owner's lease was up that November. Ledford began to feel as if the tides were turning.
“So, it was just like it was meant to be. The building was available; it needed very little work; and on Nov. 1, 2020, we signed the lease,” said Ledford.
“Then everything took off. I was worried about finding good help. But I didn’t have to. Each of the girls that work here at Alex City Nutrition reached out to me looking for a job. I got lucky. I have a great group of young, driven women working here. I could not ask for better employees.”
Ledford also shared that the community has been incredibly supportive.
“It’s a great location. We are right down from the local gym here, and so, we get people coming in before and after workouts buying teas and shakes,” he said.
The best part is that the teas and shakes are good for the body offering clean energy, heart health and immune boosters.
The Loaded Teas have just 24 calories and no sugar, but are packed with vitamins, minerals and with a bit of lift-off, clean energy, too.
“Now, if you want all of that, plus some, the Beauty Teas are what you want. They have the same ingredients as the Loaded Teas, but we add collagen for hair, nails and skin to the drink,” Ledford said. “It’s called Beauty Booster, what we add in it, or you could add protein, too. The protein helps with hunger. And for all of those wonderful ingredients in one drink, just tell the girls the name of the drink being ordered and then add on ‘the kitchen sink.’”
Customers can order any loaded tea and make it a kitchen sink, said Ledford. The customer will get all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that come in the tea, plus protein and collagen.
The shakes sold at ACN are protein-based and have very little sugar. Customers can request toppings on their shakes, and they are made with fresh fruits.
“The only sugar you may encounter in the shakes are toppings – depending on what toppings you want in it – but we try to use everything sugar-free,” said Ledford.
Sugar-free pudding goes into the shakes to add flavor, and some of the fruits have natural sugars. All of the shakes are about 240 to 250 calories each, making each shake a substantial meal replacement.
ACN also offers Rebuild Shakes for those customers who are stopping by after the gym and need a pick-me-up or want to capitalize on the anabolic window, which is the 15 to 60 minute window after a workout where the body works the hardest to absorb nutrients like protein.
The newest item that ACN has to offer is the Boost drink. These drinks are caffeine free, with only 65 calories and no sugar. The drinks boost the immune system and cardiovascular system, and they offer 1500 mg of vitamin C and zinc to the customer.
“This drink is important, especially now with COVID-19 because it helps ward off illness and build the different systems in the body,” said Ledford.
Ledford said that if someone wants to order Boost but is worried about the lack of caffeine, just tell the girls to add a little lift-off to the drink for that spark of clean energy.
For more information about Alex City Nutrition, follow them on Facebook at Alex City Nutrition or call 256-496-8284.