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Health conscious businesses expect an after New Year's rush

Restaurants, gyms and the farmer's market also experience renewed interest as people get started on New Year's resolutions to eat healthy or lose weight.
BY JENNIFER PALMER jpalmer@opubco.com Published: January 5, 2012
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As many retailers see sales slow in the post-Christmas season, business at Coolgreens restaurants is expected to rise 35 percent in the new year.

It's a phenomenon many health-conscious businesses such as restaurants and gyms see in the weeks and months after New Year's, when many people are enthusiastic about their resolutions to eat healthy or lose weight.

Coolgreens, which has been steadily growing its metro-area presence and is on track to open its fifth location this month, has a menu full of healthy options like salads, soups, flatbread pizzas and frozen yogurt. Managing partner Allan McMurrain said the concept was founded on the premise that people would eat healthy if given the option.

At first, many people doubted the restaurant's success, telling McMurrain he had to have beef, ranch and soft drinks on the menu or it wouldn't work in Oklahoma (they only serve a chipotle ranch made without mayonnaise).

“Right after the first of the year, our business will jump,” McMurrain said. “We attribute that to people deciding again, ‘This is the year I'm going to get healthy.'”

At the Chick-fil-A in Yukon, business drops a little in January but the customer choices shift.

“We sell a lot of fried chicken in December and in January, we sell a lot of grilled chicken,” said franchisee Chad Gerlt. Next week, the chain will introduce grilled chicken nuggets, adding another healthy option to its children's meals.

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Also ...

Healthy eating at Whole Foods

The Oklahoma City Whole Foods Market kicks off a 28-day Healthy Eating Challenge on Jan. 23, featuring classes, recipes and workshops. There also will be events based on the Health Starts Here program, which Whole Foods started in Jan. 2010. Upcoming events include:

• Health Starts Here sampling, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

• Detoxification workshop, 6 p.m. Tuesday.

• Healthy dinner on a budget, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 14

Source: Whole Foods Market in Oklahoma City

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