Successful Oak Grove-based business Natural Selection recently began an equity crowdfunding campaign aiming to springboard the business into a national franchise.
Just under two weeks ago, Natural Selection owners Alex and Adriana Grow began the campaign to raise anywhere between $25,000 — $1,070,000 to help solidify their plans to grow the business into a franchise with partnerships in Clarksville, Nashville and, should the campaign go well, throughout the nation.
Although the owners are aiming big, Natural Selection started doing business just a few years ago in 2016 and has since grown quickly.
“My wife and I started this business a few years back while I was a staff sergeant in the Army and my wife actually started it out of her home kitchen,” Alex Grow said. “She started literally just cooking for a handful of guys in 5th Special Forces Group and it just took off from there.”
While it started as a sort of grab-and-go meal pick-up and local online ordering business, it has expanded into something more.
Now Natural Selection has three locations with its headquarters and kitchen located on Fort Campbell Boulevard in Oak Grove.
Natural Selection has two more locations in Clarksville, with one of them being the “franchise model,” which sells not only pre-made meals, but also CBD products, juices, smoothies and more health-related items.
The business will also be moving one of its Clarksville locations to open an all-inclusive gym, making it a one-stop-shop to work out, get training, pre-made meals, juices, smoothies and even its CBD products.
Grow shared that after the first year the business was open, it gained a revenue of roughly $300,000 and today the business is close to grossing $3 million.
That success has only furthered Grow’s vision and mission, prompting him and his wife to begin the equity crowdfunding campaign.
Grow said that he and his wife’s mission is to battle obesity rates in the U.S. and help people begin to live healthier lifestyles.
“Something has to be done — it’s just not being addressed,” Grow said about the obesity rates in the country.
“Especially down here in the South, it’s the worst down here in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia. We have the worst rates of obesity in America. So many people are struggling because they just don’t have access (to healthier lifestyles).
“So, that’s what we’re offering. We’re trying to be head on by providing a simple and accessible way for people to get healthy.”
However, the Grows want to take that mission to the next level by creating a franchise to reach more people nationally.
Natural Selection’s new campaign seeks to attract investors to support its goal of making the business a “full-circle health and wellness franchise” aiming to include around-the-clock gym facilities, personal trainers, vitamin and supplement sales, and more to go along with everything the business already offers.
Grow said the minimum goal for the campaign is $25,000, which is the baseline, meaning Natural Selections would be fully funded. If the campaign never reaches that amount it’s considered unsuccessful and the money investors put into the campaign would be returned.
Its maximum goal is $1,070,000 which Grow said would be the maximum capitol the business would need to springboard it to the next level of growth.
Grow clarifies that the campaign is an investment campaign and not a normal crowdfunding campaign, like GoFundMe.
With the equity crowdfunding campaign, people who invest have the opportunity to earn money in return as they would be paying in to have an equity stake in the future of their startup company.
Grow shared that he chose an equity investment campaign rather than say a GoFundMe campaign because he wants to see community involvement and give investors and customers an opportunity to see a return on the money they choose to give.
“We want people that are financially invested in our company and the potential here is that I can get hundreds if not thousands of people in the Hopkinsville, Oak Grove, Clarksville area that have been eating with us anyways, to directly invest in our company,” Grow said.
“It brings a whole other dynamic than just raising capital through traditional investment rounds, because we can involve the crowd and the community. Then, it’s almost a community company. The idea is to involve the community directly in our business.”
The minimum investments that can be made into the campaign starts at $100 and the campaign will run for a total of 90 days.
Currently, there are 79 days left to contribute. So far, there has been 21 investors and the campaign has raised $6,950.
Along with having the opportunity to see a return on an investment made into the campaign, it also offers a 15% discount on the business’ products should a person decide to invest.
If a person would like to invest in the campaign, he or she may do so at republic.co/natural-selection. For more information about Natural Selection, visit its website at naturalselection.com or call the business at 270-987-2801. For meal plans and food options, visit www.natural selectpreps.com.