(originally published at SCW Magazine)

Becoming an elite athlete or bodybuilder requires a great deal of self-discipline. Although top physical condition can only be attained by individual commitment and hard work, the encouragement and guidance of others play a large part in helping people reach their physical peak.

A growing number of athletes and bodybuilders in the United States and beyond look to Nutrabolt’s sports nutrition products to enhance their lives. Like its customers who work with coaches, trainers, spotters and others to meet their goals, the company also believes in partnering with others to achieve its top potential.

The Bryan, Texas-based company relies on third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to warehouse its products, and uses freight brokers to handle its shipping. Third-party partners also manufacture Nutrabolt’s products.

“We’re a brand sales and distribution company, so we’re heavily reliant on outsourced supply chain partners, and there’s good and bad elements to that,” Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Casey Bauer says. “Outsourcing creates a different dynamic in our supply chain operations where those partnerships become crucial to our company. We spend a lot of time talking about how to become closer partners with the people executing our supply chain.”

The company regularly works directly with its manufacturing, 3PL and other partners in demand alignment. Nutrabolt recently made a significant investment in its relationship with supply chain partners when it purchased the Logility supply chain planning software platform, which it plans to fully implement in June.

Nutrabolt purchased Logility licenses for use not only internally, but for some of its co-manufacturers as well, which will allow partners to see immediate feedback on supply and demand levels for Nutrabolt’s products.

“We want to operate with our partners as one, and this is one of the biggest ways we can create that integration,” he adds. “We want to eventually do the same with our 3PL and freight broker partners and make sure we create as much visibility across the supply chain as possible.”

The Logility implementation and other process improvements implemented since Bauer joined Nutrabolt in mid-2015 are anticipated to reduce the company’s inventory by over 25 percent by the end of the year.

The company was founded in 2002 with the mission “to be the highest achieving and most respected nutritional life sciences company in the world, delivering superior products and service, while creating life-changing opportunities for customers,” it says.

Nutrabolt took a large step forward in fulfilling its mission in 2007, when Doss Cunningham became its CEO following his purchase of a majority share in the company from one of its founding partners. Cunningham then brought in President Manish Patel in 2008, who also bought into the business.

After becoming Nutrabolt’s owners, Cunningham and Patel set out to grow its revenues from under $10 million to the more than $200 million in sales it sees today, Bauer says.

The pair accomplished this task in part by growing the company’s Cellucor brand of nutritional supplements. The brand includes supplement and performance products across several categories including pre-workout, protein, weight loss and post-workout recovery. C-4, the brand’s pre-workout product, is a market-leading pre-workout supplement.

Cellucor has grown from being distributed at a regional level to becoming a top-selling brand at national specialty retailer GNC. The company in recent years has developed additional supplement brands: Neon Sport, Royal Sport and Cavalier.

In 2014, the company brought in a new equity partner, MidOcean Partners. MidOcean’s minority share investment in the company has helped “take Nutrabolt to the next level” by encouraging it to add to its executive team, Bauer adds.

The efforts of Nutrabolt’s owners have helped the company receive a number of accolades including being named “Vendor of the Year” by GNC three times and earning “Pre-workout of the Year” by Bodybuilding.com in late 2013. In addition, the company has been a back-to-back-to-back recipient of the Inc. 5000 distinction, recognizing it as one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States.

Leading-Edge Products

In addition to GNC and other specialty retailers, Nutrabolt’s products are available online at Bodybuilding.com, among others. The company is seeing expansion of its brands in big-box and general grocery retailers such as Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco as well. “Food, drug and mass retailers are recognizing the growth in the sports nutrition space, so we’re seeing more customers available to us,” Bauer says.

Amazon is also expanding its sports nutrition offerings. “That channel has grown dramatically for us over the past 12 months, and we predict it will continue to grow for us going forward,” he adds.

Bauer credits the success and expansion of Nutrabolt’s products to the company’s extensive research, development and product development efforts. “We have a real understanding of the consumer and what they want, and stay at the cutting-edge of that,” Bauer says. “We make sure we have the best products and best clinical data available – when we go out with a new product, we have a compelling story behind it.

“I’m consistently blown away by how the team here understands our consumers and keeps us on the leading-edge of making products customers can get behind.”

Nutrabolt’s core customers include athletes and bodybuilders who closely study and research sports nutrition. “They believe in it, invest in it and it’s a critical part of their lifestyle,” Bauer says. “They know what to expect from a product, understand the ingredient profile and know what they are looking for.”

The company’s move into big-box and other large retailers has seen the expansion of this customer base. “We’re really seeing the emergence of people who are into general fitness such as CrossFit, which means we have to come up with unique formulations targeted to those groups.”

Nutrabolt’s newest products include C4 On The Go, a pre-mixed, 10-ounce version of the C4 product, which is typically available in powdered form. Bottles of the product are being sold at retailers as well as gyms. “This makes the product much more convenient,” Bauer says.

The company in April launched a line of protein bars. “We’ve spent a lot of time developing what we believe to be the ideal protein bar offering,” he adds. The line will be available in Target, with other large retailers to follow.

Making a Difference

Nutrabolt maintains close connections not only to customers, manufacturers and 3PLs, but to the community as well. “Community work is an unbelievably critical part of our culture,” Bauer says.

The company’s community commitment extends to the interior of its headquarters, where a 20-foot wall of inspirational quotes and phrases with the theme of “grow and give back” greets employees and visitors.

Nutrabolt’s community efforts focus on organizations and events that make a difference in the lives of children and families. The company partners with local organizations including United Way, Habitat for Humanity and the Brazos Valley Food Bank. Each year, it sponsors a holiday drive, where it provides Christmas presents and a Christmas dinner to families in need. More than 100 families and 300 children are typically assisted annually.

The company tracks its philanthropic efforts in a manner similar to other business metrics such as its order fill rate, with the ultimate goal of continuous improvement. “We push ourselves to continue to grow our touch within the community,” Bauer adds. “We’re heavily invested in giving back, more so than any place I’ve seen.”

This Fall, Nutrabolt’s Grow and Give Back initiative was put into action in two main events: The Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K and Dress-Up and Read Night. Check-out a quick recap of each below by some of our team members who participated:

Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K: A Volunteer’s Perspective | Karissa Bayliss

This October marked the first year for the Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K. The race was recently added to the roster of the BCS Race Series. In fact, the timing of the race purposefully prepared runners for the full BCS marathon in December. But beyond preparing runners for a future race, we wanted racers to have fun! Being in October, we felt the perfect theme for the run would be Oktoberfest. Naturally, that meant every runner received a custom beer mug upon crossing the finish line. And to help quench their thirst, the runners and spectators had access to several options of Karbach beer to enjoy, along with German-themed food. Basically, it was a mini Oktoberfest right here in Bryan/College Station, Texas!

Since I was able to volunteer at the finish line, I feel that I might have had one of the best views of the course. Watching runners cross a finish line is always an inspiring image. However, the Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K was just a bit more moving than your average race. It might have been because it was quite early in the morning, or maybe it was seeing people run from all walks of life and at all ages. Perhaps, most notably, it was the fact that every single runner crossed the finish line despite running in the wake of a hurricane. Yes, you heard that last part correctly. What made the Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K special was not something that can be planned or purchased in advance. Running in a hurricane is an experience of a lifetime. Now of course, that probably raises some questions for you. Was it safe? Yes! We would definitely not have had the race if it were not completely safe. Will it rain again next year? Who knows? …it’s Texas. The weather is always unpredictable so we are certainly not ruling it out. Was it fun? Keep reading to hear Stephanie Sommer’s perspective from the road.

Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K: A Runner’s Perspective | Stephanie Sommer

If you were to ask me six months ago if I was going to run in the Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K… I would have laughed. Through the inspiration of a few key people in my life, I was challenged to participate in at least the 10K. About midway through my training, my mom decided that she wanted to run the 10K for her 50th birthday. So naturally, I couldn’t let her down. Up until that point, training was, well, non existent. I hunkered down and cranked out one 2 and a half mile run a week and a half before race day, clearly setting myself up for quite a bit of success. With the weather forecast showing a hurricane, I was confident that I was going to be able get out of this one… Wrong. The night before the race, my mom made me swear that I would run the race with her despite the weather. Game over. Naturally, I went to Target to buy some swimming goggles, a beach ball, and a floating tube.

Fast forward to race day.. We showed up to get on the buses to be transported to the finish line. I’m not saying that frost bite was upon us, but I’m also not denying it. Chris, one of the race directors, started counting down the minutes until the kick off of the race.. Mentally and physically, I was so not prepared for this. Not only was it freezing cold, but remember when I had said that I only ran once leading up to this 10K? Yeah…

They sounded the horn and we were on our way. Everyone talks about forgetting where you’re at and getting caught up in the moment of the race. That seemed so unattainable to me leading up to the race, but that’s exactly what happened. I forgot how cold I was, how much I hate running, and realized how glad I was to be experiencing this race with my mom on her big birthday. Yes, it rained the entire time, and no, the floating tube didn’t make it past mile one. My mom had two goals: to complete the race without stopping and for no one to find out it was her birthday. Unfortunately, she only accomplished one of those goals. She completed the race without stopping, but I made sure that water stations along the way sang her happy birthday as she ran by.

It’s been said a million times, but the volunteers at the race are really what made race day amazing. Despite the freezing rain, every runner was greeted with a smile and a cup of water at every water station. Also, the runners were just as nice. Every time we passed by police officers holding traffic, I heard runners thanking them for their time.

After finishing the Nutrabolt Half Marathon & 10K, I realized that despite my hesitations I want to run in the race again…maybe even the half. And maybe I’ll even train this time.

Dress-Up and Read Night | Lauren Milano

Our company recently went to help out at Kemp-Carver, an elementary school in Bryan, with their Dress Up & Read Night. We were very happy with the growth of our relationship with Bryan ISD and with our first experience volunteering. Getting to help make the students of Kemp-Carver’s Halloween a little more fun was such a joy. Each team member was assigned a classroom and got to read to the children. After all of our books had been read, the kids got to trick or treat from classroom to classroom. The event could not have been more of a success, and we can’t wait for next year. Thank you to everyone who was able to make it out and help us make such a great first impression at Kemp-Carver Elementary!

Hagen Dress up and read

 

In 2015, Nutrabolt redirected its focus on giving back to make a greater impact on its local Bryan community. With this new focus, Nutrabolt partnered with the local Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity. B/CS Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seeks to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope. BCS Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

In June this year, Nutrabolt funded a Half House Sponsorship for the Arreola Escalante family. Through this sponsorship, Nutrabolt covered half of the cost of the building materials for the family and sent volunteers to work on the home. One of Nutrabolt’s core giving beliefs is to mobilize our people. On a hot Texas afternoon, a team from Nutrabolt painted trim and doors in the family’s home.


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One reason why Nutrabolt chose to work with Habitat for Humanity this year was because of their family selection process. Habitat works hard in the application process to find families truly in need and that are capable of supporting the cost of a home after the build process. Habitat homes are not free homes either, they are interest free homes. This gives families like the Arreola Escalante family an opportunity to have a low mortgage and pay off the home in a reasonable amount of time. In addition, families purchasing a Habitat home are asked to put in 300 volunteer hours on another family’s home to pay it forward.

Pedro Arreola and Cecilia Escalante have lived in apartments for all of their married life and always wanted to have a home. Once they found out they were having a baby, the desire for a home took on a greater sense of urgency. A friend told Cecelia about the Habitat program. At first, she thought it sounded too good to be true. Nevertheless, the couple applied for a Habitat home in early August 2014, just weeks before their son Jake was born. Before purchasing their Habitat home in the Angels Gate subdivision, Pedro and Cecilia shared a two-bedroom apartment with Cecilia’s sister, her sister’s two children and her father. Now they have the space they need, a yard for Jake to play in, and neighbors who have also become friends. Pedro and Cecilia wrote this message for Nutrabolt:

“First of all, we would like to thank God for the opportunity to allow us to come across Habitat for Humanity, where there are people who have big hearts and are willing to help us. Our family is very grateful for the generosity and the blessings that our sponsors have given us and our new home. We hope that God blesses our sponsors and multiplies their profits. More than anything, we hope God fills their lives with health, happiness and love!”

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One of our favorite days at Nutrabolt is the annual trip to Camp For All for MDA Summer Camp! MDA stands for Muscular Dystrophy Association, and this is an organization that really speaks to ours. As a supplement company, we can appreciate the importance of exercise and activity. So those who suffer from muscle disease hold a special place in each of our hearts. MDA Summer Camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids with this disease to honestly just have fun and experience things they have never been able to before. Nutrabolt has been given the incredible opportunity to experience interacting and playing with the campers each year. This is a perfect example of our company living out our mantra: Grow and Give Back.

MDA Summer Camp is a week full of fun and activities for the campers. However, one afternoon is completely reserved to our time with the kids. This year, we were in a brand new area of the camp full of dress-up costumes, dancing space, and bowling. Since we came on a Thursday, the campers were anxiously waiting for this time all week. The kids were actually asking if Cellucor was definitely going to be coming because they missed us! One of the favorite activities our team does is decorating the campers’ wheelchairs with glow sticks and duct-tape for the evening dance. Check out some of these awesome pics of our employees and the campers having a great time together!

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