For the past 17 years, Matt Kaessinger of Southold has worked in the health and fitness food business selling healthy snacks, personal care products and vitamins online. Last week he quietly opened the doors of his brick and mortar shop, FIT-foods, located on Route 48 in Southold.
“Just a soft opening,” says Kaessinger. “I haven’t started advertising yet. I’ve been working 16 hour days getting everything ready. It’s just about there, and yes, we are officially open.”
Kaessinger’s brother started the online business in 1996, running it out of a facility on Cox Lane in Cutchogue. Matt came onboard around 2000, working mostly in the warehouse and on buying and merchandising. Seven years ago his brother decided he wanted to go in a different direction, so Kaessinger bought him out.
His family of three had just doubled when he and his wife became the parents of triplets.
“All of a sudden I had four kids,” says Kaessinger. “That’s when I decided to become a business owner.”
He’d run a small storefront at the distribution facility, and his customers were mostly locals who knew about it from word of mouth. Business at the little store started growing so he decided to take the leap and open up a full-sized shop. He hopes to eventually phase out the online aspect of the business, he said.
The store itself is bright and well-stocked, sporting a beautiful custom wood counter made for him by local builder Amos Meringer.
There is a huge variety of products to satisfy just about any craving, and all are quite reasonably priced. Kaessinger buys in large quantities and so is able to keep prices very low.
“We have vitamins, health bars, proteins, snacks, gluten free foods, frozen foods and we can get just about anything anyone wants,” he says.
Many of the items he has in stock have come from suggestions from customers and friends, and Kaessinger says that he will customize his inventory to the needs of people who shop there.
FIT-foods is located at 46025 Rt. 48 in Southold and is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weekend hours have not been set. Call 631 765-8199 for more information.