By Ginger DeShaney
“Everything we do comes from the heart,” Denisse Tejada said as On The Edge Nutrition (OTEN) celebrated its one-year anniversary in South Boston last Saturday.
“It’s heart work; it’s not hard work,” she said.
Denisse along with Yeison Baez have put their hearts and souls into the healthy smoothie bar at 283 Old Colony Ave. and it shows.
With a customer base of 4,000 and at least 100 regulars, the shop is making a name for itself. People travel from Rhode Island and New Hampshire for OTEN’s offerings.
And many of those customers stopped by for OTEN’s socially distanced anniversary celebration that included balloons and banners, a DJ spinning tunes, specials, and giveaways.
“We started this because we wanted to create change and provide something different for the community,” Denisse said. “It’s been an amazing journey so far. I’m grateful we took this leap of faith.”
OTEN features protein-based smoothies that are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and flavor. “It’s different; it’s not traditional,” Yeison said.
All of OTEN’s smoothies have 24g of protein, 21 vitamins and minerals, 5g of fiber, and are 200-300 calories. The shop uses Herbalife protein powder as the base.
The shop also offers protein iced coffee, protein donuts and waffles, as well as teas. The donuts and waffles are made on-site with the Herbalife protein powder.
Fitness and healthy living are hallmarks for Yeison and Denisse, who met at a Fit Camp. Yeison saw the potential in Denisse and took her under his wing, teaching her about business and encouraging her leadership skills. “He saw something in me and believed in me,” Denisse said.
After stopping into a healthy smoothie shop in Springfield, MA, Yeison, who used to work in corporate America, “wanted to bring something like that here.” Denisse had always wanted to do something like this, so they teamed up to make it happen.
The shop opened Feb. 8, 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “We didn’t have online ordering then,” Yeison said. “We wanted a bar atmosphere where people could sit down and hang out. We wanted people to come in.”
They had 6-8 stools at the bar, and a few chairs and tables, which are gone for now.
They immediately implemented online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery. “That helped us build our business slowly,” Yeison said. “Our numbers are growing month after month.”
Now customers can come in and grab their orders or have them delivered.
“We did very well during the pandemic,” Denisse said. “People were looking for healthy options,” said Yeison.
The OTEN smoothies help strengthen the immune system and provide energy, he said. They also help people stay in shape. “I think [the pandemic] helped us in a way; it was something people needed at that time.”
Many people use the smoothies to lose weight or gain weight, Yeison said.
“The smoothies are very healthy,” Denisse said. “They can serve as a meal. We’re not your average smoothie place.”
OTEN also shares health, fitness, and nutrition information on its social media platforms.
The name of the shop just fell into place. Yeison came from an IT background, where he was working on the edge of technology, he said. So On The Edge Nutrition was born.
The look and feel of the shop is edgy. “There’s good energy, a good vibe, positivity. People are always happy here,” Yeison said.
“We are big on customer service; that’s what makes us stand out. It’s all about the experience,” Denisse said.
The staff members, known as partners — “We have a team of people developing themselves. We are building leaders,” Denisse said — are diverse in age and ethnicity. “We want people to see this is for everyone.”
Laura Mendoza, a full-time social worker, works part time at OTEN. “This is such a fun place to be,” she said, noting she loves meeting people and the shop’s friendly atmosphere. “It’s intertwined with the community.”
Yeison has two family members who work at the shop and the others have become family. Everyone who works there brings something different. “Everyone has their own unique quality that makes the place what it is,” he said. “We have fun together.”
And the customers and the community have noticed.
“The reaction from the community has been amazing,” Denisse said. “People love coming here. They love the conversations; they love the smoothies. There has been tremendous support from the community.”
“We are grateful and thankful for the Southie community,” Yeison said.
OTEN is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Come March, the shop may stay open longer on weekends.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OnTheEdgeNutrition
- Instagram: @ontheedgenutrition
- Website: https://linktr.ee/OnTheEdgeNutrition