Business owner creates safe space through health, fitness
By Jessica Meditz
Growing up, Queens Village native Anthony Oll-adikankwu Jr. always felt like he didn’t fit in, or a misfit, if you will.
He has since reclaimed the word and turned it into something positive for himself and others when he opened MisFits Nutrition on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.
Although MisFits Nutrition is listed as a vitamin supplement shop online, Oll-adikankwu Jr. said that his business’ mission encompasses so much more.
As a licensed practical nurse since 2012, health has always been important to Oll-adikankwu Jr. While one’s physical health is essential to their state of being, he also emphasizes the importance of mental health and having a life outside of work.
That is a main component of what motivated him to open up his business.
“People on Wall Street are committing suicide. You make tons of money, but your relationship with your child is strange, you’re never there, you can never make practices, you’re never there for your lover. It takes a toll. That’s not the kind of life that I want.” he said.
“It’s not just about making money…there’s plenty of things I could do just to make money,” he emphasized. “It’s about creating a space where people can come. A lot of people are dealing with depression. I’ve had people come in here, not even knowing me, they just come in, they feel good.”
Oll-adikankwu Jr. said that many people have entered his business to purchase an energy drink or snack, and have felt comfortable confiding in him about their hardships, which is exactly what he hoped for when envisioning MisFits.
The storefront is adorned with a Black-owned business flag and LGBTQ Pride flag, and the interior features a wall of positive affirmations in different languages to symbolize the diversity of Queens.
“I’m creating a space that’s not just a shake spot, but where people can come in and feel better and talk to a stranger in here. In Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, for example, people are very secluded and they just want you out the door,” he said. “People come in here, not knowing each other and they’ll be friendly enough to talk to each other. I’m creating a space, a safe haven, a judgment free zone where people can come to.”
Oll-adikankwu Jr. opened MisFits Nutrition four years ago, and runs the business on his own — along with the support of his family and the community at large.
As an Herbalife nutrition club, MisFits Nutrition offers a variety of healthy consumption options on its menu, including energy teas, shakes, bowls and donuts. Oll-adikankwu Jr. also sells a wide variety of supplements to promote a healthy lifestyle.
As a former personal trainer, Oll-adikankwu Jr. offers dance cardio classes every Tuesday and Saturday to keep the community active.
To contribute to the welcoming atmosphere of MisFits, he also offers various activities for people to take part in, including karaoke, game night and Sip N’ Paint, which is co-hosted by Tahina Marcette, who operates Marcette Studio.
“I wanted to create an outlet that’s family-oriented and not alcohol-centered for people to bring their family, kids and friends to be with one another and talk to other people,” Oll-adikankwu Jr. said.
Reflecting on his time spent donating drinks to healthcare workers at local hospitals, he brought up how the sudden switch up on the “healthcare heroes” trend of the COVID-19 pandemic left a bad taste in his mouth.
“People started appreciating nurses, and the pandemic created this trend of ‘healthcare heroes.’ I was collecting donations to deliver drinks to the hospitals not only to promote the business, but to kind of show that I’m trying to do something as well,” he said.
In fact, Goldman Sachs reached out to him with a proposition to contract him to deliver 100 shakes per day to the hospitals.
This was a challenge due to the fact that MisFits Nutrition is a one-man operation.
“I would always get new customers, but it was stressful,” he continued. “Goldman Sachs then extended the contract for another month, but when COVID numbers started dropping, and they canceled the contract.”
He wishes people on a larger scale would support healthcare workers and appreciate their work without an extenuating circumstance.
However, his customers are extremely supportive and believe in his mission.
“I go to Aesthetic Solutions right here, and I passed the shop. I saw the Black-owned sign and immediately went in. I just started my fitness journey, so I’m looking for all alternatives and not giving up my favorite, good foods and sweets,” said Maddie Felton, a regular customer.
“It’s a part of my routine, coming here. There’s just so many options and it makes it easier to stick to my meal plan without giving up the stuff I love.”
A fitness lover or not, Oll-adikankwu Jr. encourages all who are interested in nutritious drinks and snacks along with fun, interactive activities to stop by.
For updates and more information, follow MisFits Nutrition on social media.