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PremiumA homegrown health food start up  is embarking on a rapid expansion plan that will see store numbers more than double by the end of the year, before taking the brand international.

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Nutrition Station, founded by CEO, James McGovern in 2012, has in the last six months begun aggressively pushing its franchise model, which has seen a minimum of 30 franchise enquiries each week.

Today it operates in 13 locations across Sydney and Queensland, with three due to open in Melbourne before the end of the year, with a plan to end 2014 with 30 fully operational stores.

“In terms of our long term growth, we’re looking at quite a big expansion,” said McGovern.

“We’re going to have three US stores in January, and domestically we’re looking at another 50 next year as a minimum, and from there a store a week for the next few years,” he said.

The US stores will be opened within 24/7 Fitness, which has 500 clubs across the country, and will be corporately owned.

“We’re rolling out the first three, and if they trade well and to their requirements with ease then we’ll look at rolling out a lot more over there with them.”

The chain has three different business models; the gym model in Australia is operated through partnerships with Fitness First and Goodlife gyms. It is a 12sqm kiosk style operation serving smoothies and on the go healthy snacks.

The next size up is the shopping centre kiosk model, with a minimum 20sqm footprint and similar menu to the gym model.

The last and largest concept is the most lucrative for the business – the cafe model has a minimum 40sqm footprint, inhouse chef, and full healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.

McGovern told Inside Retail PREMIUM the business plans to drive its aggressive growth by pushing the gym model, to build brand awareness, and as it is the most low risk, will create a rollover effect in pushing further kiosk and cafe openings.

The Nutrition Station menu is designed by internationally recognised nutritionist, Moodi Dennaoui, and features vegan and gluten free options.

Sam Mackendry and Lewis Brown from the Penrith Panthers have bought in as franchisees of the Emu Plains store, while The Biggest Loser’s Shannon Ponton is a brand ambassador.

Ponton will create a series of short videos to be played on digital screens within each store, focusing on promoting preventative health, exercise, and eating healthy.

Ponton is also ambassador for Anytime Fitness and Nature’s Way, so the marketing will be in collaboration with the trio.

“Shannon has a lot of trust in the community and he’s got a family orientated following, which is a demographic that we’re not hitting at the moment, so it will be good to start tapping into that,” said McGovern.

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