Arnold Thuku came to the United States from his homeland of Kenya in 2014 at the age of 18, overweight and looking for a new lease on life. He enrolled at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, where he studied nutrition.
Eight years later and 50 pounds lighter, he celebrated the grand opening of his second nutrition shop, at 1734 Lakeview Avenue in Dracut at Tennis Plaza, on Saturday, March 5, with a grand opening along with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Dracut Economic Development.
At age 26, Arnold is excited to bring high-protein, meal-replacing teas and smoothies, as well as waffles and doughnuts, to Dracut.
“I want people to feel better. I love doing this,” says Arnold, who calls himself a “healthy bartender.”
Arnold says the teas he sells burn 80-100 calories, boost metabolism, contain antioxidants and vitamin B-12, and have only 30 calories. Smoothies have 24-40 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, 18 grams of carbs, 21 vitamins and nutrients.
“Everything is protein,” Arnold says.
He and his family, notably fiancée Zaida Kamua, turned the space at Tennis Plaza into a welcoming shop, with inspirational quotes on the wall. Arnold hopes to start offering free nutrition classes on Saturday nights after the shop closes.
He opened his first shop, called 508 Champion Nutrition, in Brockton last year. He’s already hoping to open a third soon.
“That’s why this is called the land of opportunity,” he says. “You can make anything of yourself.”