An Ashcroft business has made the leap from the HUB to a downtown storefront, and Casey Gibson-Menhinick plans to add even more to Gemini Wellness Services, located in the former Ashcroft Barber Shop at 203 Railway Avenue.
Gemini Wellness features Ideal Protein, a medically developed weight and lifestyle protocol designed by scientists for safe weight loss and weight management. Gibson-Menhinick was introduced to Ideal Protein as a client while living in Lillooet.
“I was struggling to lose weight, and was introduced to Ideal Protein by a friend. I researched evidence-based ways to lose weight; I’ve always been interested in health.” Many Pharmasave branches, including the one in Lillooet, offer Ideal Protein counselling and consulting, and Gibson-Menhinick was taken on as a consultant in Lillooet.
Two years her son moved to Ashcroft, and she found herself driving to the town weekly to visit. Seeing a need for the program in Ashcroft, she began doing three days a week in Lillooet and two in Ashcroft, but the Ashcroft business got busier and busier, so she sold her home in Lillooet and moved.
She scouted out various locations for the business, and while she came across numerous vacant spots, a lot of people were not responsive to her inquiries. She also found she would be responsible for paying rent, insurance, utilities, and internet fees.
“I saw Andrea Bona’s Bona Fide Books business at the HUB, so I Googled the HUB, and found that their mandate fit in with mine. And they were very affordable. All the charges were incorporated in their fee.
“I loved the energy there, the sense of community. It was a good way to build up a bond with the community. People who worked there used Ideal protein, and it was a lovely little network, but it was a smaller space.”
She says that Ideal Protein is not a fad diet, but is more about counselling and support. “There is a year of weekly counselling sessions, then monthly and every other month for a year. If people are diabetic we have more contact with them, since we need to regulate blood sugar. I work with the local physicians and the pharmacist.”
Gibson-Menhinick says that much of her business is by appointment, so she did not get many walk-ins at the HUB, but is hoping for more foot traffic now that she is downtown. She is handy with tools, and did a lot of renovations to her space at the HUB; something which is continuing at the new location. Those familiar with the site when it was a barber shop will find it completely transformed, with more changes to come.
A food bar has been added, and while there will not be sit-down, dine-in service there are plans to provide keto/diabetic-friendly meals that can be picked up at the site. She also offers keto/diabetic-friendly foods and beverages for purchase, and has done tea-tasting and oil-pairing workshops, with a workshop planned from 3 to 6 p.m. every Tuesday through to Christmas.
“If we can generate walk-in traffic we can answer questions, have events, and find healthy ways for people to socialize. People can purchase items or get more information.”
The store is open on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and on Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. Because Gibson-Menhinick is usually with clients, Jessica Clement and Heather Inglis work in the store.
“They’re both trained [with Ideal Protein], and can provide resources people are looking for and hold mini-information sessions as people start to walk in. I’ll be hiring more staff, and will have more open houses when KC’s Keto Café and Low-Carb Supply launches.”
A previous open house attracted 40 people, with up to 25 people attending each workshop. “I’ve already noticed more walk-ins. People can try sugar-free products at the food bar, and I’m looking forward to bringing in more products, offering a different place of employment, and having a place for people to connect in healthy ways.”