2003: M.S.S. Sports Management/Fitness Dual
Jeff Sheldon has always enjoyed health, nutrition and fitness and now he educates many customers at The Health Hut stores that he owns in Mobile and Spanish Fort, Ala.
For nearly 10 years, he has been in the sports health business. In August 2011, he bought The Health Hut store that has existed in Mobile for about 30 years to take advantage of the name recognition, respected brand and loyal customer base.
Although Sheldon started his sports career as a strength coach and personal trainer, he says he enjoys teaching others about eating healthy and taking the right vitamins and supplements to achieve their health and fitness goals. He does admit bookkeeping is probably the least fun part of his business.
Sheldon, who graduated from the Academy in 2003 with a dual major in Sports Management and Fitness, took time out from his hectic schedule running two stores to discuss with the Alumni Network how he got started in business, and his passion for health, nutrition and fitness.
Alumni Network: How did you get started in health nutrition?
Jeff Sheldon: I was working as a strength coach and a personal trainer on the side. I was constantly sending my clients to stores to get vitamins and supplements. A bunch of them would tell me the sales person told them to get something else and that angered me. That’s when I decided to buy a story myself and help my clients and others locally. I never wanted to be in retail. This is unexpected.
Alumni Network: It sounds as the owner of two health, nutrition and fitness stores you get to educate a lot of people. How do you like doing that?
Jeff Sheldon: I absolutely love what I do. I like talking to someone like a 17-year-old athlete who comes in and wants to buy something he doesn’t need. It’s nice to show him and share my knowledge with him on how to really become bigger, faster and stronger in a better way.
Alumni Network: We all want a magic pill to get us in shape. Do you carry that?
Jeff Sheldon: Everyone who walks into my store, whether they are a 17-year-old athlete or 50-year-old just trying to stay in shape, have seen all these advertisements that make outrageous promises. It’s really up to the consumers to educate themselves. The more reputable companies send their products to independent labs, so what they are claiming is accurate. They also spend more money on better materials, such as higher quality whole foods. They are not all synthetic made in a lab. I usually recommend multi-vitamins, a fish oil omega 3 source and healthy foods. That’s a foundation for health for kids to adults.
Alumni Network: What’s one of your favorite memories at the Academy?
Jeff Sheldon: I took a facilities class with Dr. Lawrence Bestmann. As part of it, I volunteered and went out to Spanish Fort, Ala., to help build a kids park there. I had a lot of fun with that hands-on experience, especially helping design and put it together.