It's always exciting when a new retailer pops up in Downtown Lincoln and GNC is no exception. GNC recently opened its doors in the newly developed Larson Building on 1317 Q St near the Nebraska Bookstore. GNC started from the ground up in 1935 in Pittsburgh, PA and is now one of the most recognizable names in nutrition in the world with 6,000 stores in 49 countries. Nathan Hanson, a Bellevue native and the new franchisee, is no rookie to the nutrition game and is excited to expand into the Lincoln market. He has 12 years of experience and three stores already under his belt. We were eager to catch up with Nathan and learn about his store, his drive, and his love for his family.
DLA: Why did you decide to start your business downtown and what do you think you’ll enjoy most about having it located down here?
Nathan: We picked our location because we wanted to be part of the UNL community! We are really excited to be downtown, looking forward most to the atmosphere and diversity it offers.
DLA: For people who have never heard of your store, explain to them a little about the types of vitamins, supplements, and products you have to offer there. What can people expect?
Nathan: Our store offers the widest selection of vitamins, minerals, herbs, sports nutrition, healthy aging, men's and women's health, fish oils, and plant based proteins for specialty stores like ours. We also offer healthy snacks, including chips, bars, drinks, jerky, soft chews, and dried fruit. We have just about anything and everything, and if we don't, we can most likely get it for you!
DLA: How long have you been in the nutrition business?
Nathan: I have personally been involved in the nutrition business since 2003. During my college years I started part time at GNC, working my way up to manager over the next few years. In 2005 I decided to take it a step further, go into training, and start my own Franchise GNC in Bellevue, NE.
DLA: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, what you did before owning GNC and what made you decide to start your own store?
Nathan: I was born and raised in Bellevue NE. My father was in the Air force, and my mother the Civil service. My wife was born in Corpus Christi, TX and moved to Bellevue when she was 2. We met each other in high school, but didn't start dating until after college. I attended UNO for Exercise Science, while my wife graduated in 2007 from UNL with a degree in elementary education. She continued on to complete her Masters in 2012 from Doane college all while working as a grade school teacher.
Before GNC, I was always interested in sports and nutrition. I was a high school and college athlete, which led me to apply at GNC. GNC brand products are safe for high school and collegiate athletes, so I knew I was safe in that regard, and the discounts were just icing on the cake! I decided to pursue franchising a GNC because I loved the relationships I built with my customers over the years, and loved to help them achieve their goals. There is no more rewarding feeling than helping another person improve their life!
Over the past 10 years our family operated stores have grown to three in the Omaha metro (Bellevue-Twin Creek Plaza, Papillion- Shadow Lake, and Omaha-Village Pointe), but the Lincoln location is 100% my wife's and my venture. Her parents are UNL grads and her brother will be graduating this year. Our manager Mike Allen is also a student and has been with me for six years now. We truly are a family operated business, with over 30 years (closer to 40) combined experience, including cousins and other relatives.
DLA: What makes your GNC different from the others?
Nathan: We are a family operated GNC, and the only one of the four GNC's in Lincoln. Being family operated, we are able to carry a wider selection of product, ones you won't see at corporate stores or even our competitor stores. Our manager has been with us for over six years, so there is a lot of knowledge in our stores. Having staff that has been around for awhile also assures you the same great experience every time you shop with us!
We ask lifestyle questions to find you the right product for you! No pressure selling with us, we want you to get the right product, and earn your business for years to come. We are able to run special discounts/offers, have free samples daily, and offer gifts with purchase!
DLA: Any specials or deals you are running? Price match?
Nathan: Right now we are running a grand opening special, 30% OFF your entire purchase, Free Gold Card (Our member card that saves you up to 50% off everyday) and Free Shaker bottle.
We price match bodybuilding.com and other select websites, as well as beat ANY local competitors price, ANYDAY!
DLA: Biggest struggle?
Nathan: Organization, that's where my wife completes me. She's an amazing partner.
DLA: Biggest reward?
Nathan: Helping people improve on a daily basis. Leading by example living a healthy lifestyle with my family.
DLA: NU football or basketball?
Nathan: Football, although I love the atmosphere for the basketball games at the new arena. It's a great time!
DLA: Favorite Neb athlete?
Nathan: Tommy Frazier
DLA: Favorite spot in Downtown Lincoln other than GNC?
Nathan: Downtown YMCA, and then Leadbelly for a post workout meal/beer :)