Isaac Hamlin has always wanted to leave his mark on the world.
“Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted be able to help people in some way and make a positive impact on their lives,” Hamlin said.
At age 26, he’s already accomplishing that goal. Hamlin is the owner of Better Blend, a high-protein smoothie bar, with three locations in Florence, Downtown Cincinnati and Clifton Heights. After just three years in business, he’s opened the opportunity for franchises for his brand and has more than 100 applicants looking to open their own Better Blends.
“The idea for Better Blend was actually founded while I was in college,” Hamlin, who grew up in Independence, said. “I was playing Rugby at the University of Kentucky and there was something missing in my game. That was nutrition.”
Hamlin was inspired to find a replacement for the heavy meals that were the team’s pregame tradition.
“Eating heavy and then playing just didn’t sit well with me,” he said. “I did my research and came up with a protein smoothie that offered optimum nutrition, tasted great and didn’t weigh me down.”
Not only was he successful in this venture, but Hamlin went on to be named first-team Southeastern Conference All-American.
After graduation, Hamlin realized that everyone has a need for healthy food options and that there was a market for the smoothie recipes he’d created for himself. So, he decided to bring his recipes first to his hometown of Northern Kentucky.
“People care how they look and especially care how they feel,” Hamlin said. “I wanted to make eating healthy taste good and offer this good nutrition in a convenient and affordable way so people can be healthy every day.”
In the summer of 2018, Hamlin opened Better Blend in Florence. His two other locations opened earlier this year.
Hamlin’s unique recipes are a balanced formula of protein, greens, healthy fats, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals.
“Our blends and our bowls taste as good as they sound, like Brownie Batter and Peanut Butter Pie,” he said. “Our blends are made with organic veggies that are so fine and soluble. We use Stevia, a natural sweetener. One of the things I really like best in this business is when a customer comes in and is skeptical of the taste. They try it. That initial face. It’s really cool to see.”
Paula McPeake, 71, of Florence, has been going to the Florence Better Blend since it opened, and she said it’s helped her maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve her quality of life.
“Better Blend helped me get my energy back after a surgical procedure,” McPeake said. “It really helped speed up my recovery.”
She’s stuck with it. McPeake volunteers as an elementary school mascot and said she always has a Better Blend smoothie when she needs to be moving around for a few hours.
McPeake changes her blends depending on the season. In the summer, she’s all about Lemon Up; in the fall, Pumpkin Delight and Brownie Batter in the winter.
“I love any and all the flavors really,” she said. “And they are constantly adding.”
McPeake is not only impressed by Hamlin’s business skills and recipe developments but also his heart for the community. She said he’s a big supporter of Boone County Schools, as well as “very involved in the community and anxious to help other small businesses.”
McPeake said Hamlin really cares for and takes a genuine interest in his customers, too.
“He’s supported me as much as I’ve supported him,” she said. “He’s not only a fantastic businessman, but a great human being and I’m proud to consider him a friend.”
Hamlin said he and his team are driven by a sense of community.
“We work hard to make the places we call home a little better, one Blend at a time,” he said. “Our mission is to support our communities are we are committed to having a positive impact in more ways than one.”
Better Blend supports local charitable organizations, running groups, schools, sports and other initiatives.
“I enjoy what we’re doing,” Hamlin said. “I enjoy building long-term relationships with our customers and making a difference in their lives. It’s great being a part of their journey. It’s nice to know you’re making a difference in someone’s world. It’s a blessing I get to leave my mark on this world and help people with Better Blend.”