BERLIN - A single mom and former marathon runner decided to shake up her life by starting a business a few years ago.
Now, she’s opening her third location in Berlin and inviting customers to come in and see what the Fresh Monkee has to offer.
Located at 220 Berlin Turnpike, the business owned by Judy Flynn officially opened on Monday.
The shop offers meal-replacement shakes that use whole foods to provide healthy “macros” - nutrients such as protein, fiber and carbohydrates - without sweeteners.
The shakes are built around proteins, said Stew Henderson, the shop’s general manager.
Most shakes are between 300-550 calories and are intended to be full drinkable meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Flynn said. They come in a traditional 32-ounce size as well as two smaller sizes.
Added ingredients and other health-driven snacks are available.
The shop also has the ability to use a plant-based protein, substitute items for gluten-free diets and make many other accommodations, Henderson said.
There are “fun” shakes, too, with marshmallows, chocolate syrup and graham crackers, Flynn said.
The 800-square-foot store is the Fresh Monkee’s third location.
The single mother of two teens, Flynn opened in Wethersfield in 2014, expanded to Glastonbury in 2015 and started a food truck to cater events or travel throughout the day with shake options.
She conducted a trial run in Avon but said her product wasn’t finding success there.
“We’ve been able to get very reasonable rent,” said Flynn of the Berlin location. The location also has good traffic, she added.
Flynn said she started the business to fill a void of quickly made, healthy shakes that were transparent about the ingredients they contain.
“At other shops, everything is hidden and covered up,” said Flynn. At her shop, she keeps a low counter so patrons can see exactly how the shake is made.
Since “rolling the dice” to start her business, Flynn said, she’s glad she took the risk. In the beginning, Flynn said, she would work at her shop all day, with one blender and 10 recipes, then go get food and prep it for the next day, all while taking care of her teenagers.
She now has several blenders, with 30 recipes and more than 15 employees.
“I don’t think there’s anything like this around,” said Flynn.
The space the Fresh Monkee occupies on the turnpike is part of a 17,000- square-foot building built in conjunction with the new Acura dealership that opened in the fall of 2017.
John Orsini, the owner of the two buildings, did not return a request for comment on the status of filling the building’s three vacant units.
“I’m excited,” said Chris Edge, Berlin’s economic development director, “I can’t wait to get a shake.”
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.