As soon as I walked up to Seattle Sutton, I knew I was going to like her.
We met for our interview at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Plaza and I was running late and out of breath. I rushed to meet her and the first words out of my mouth were, “You look taller in your photo.” She immediately laughed and said, “People have told me that.”
I would never talk about a lady’s age. (I was brought up better than that.) But she readily admits, “I was an old lady when I started this business 23 years ago. And I’m going to have a big retirement party when I reach age 90.” That business, Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, has gone on to help more than 250,000 customers eat healthier and lose weight.
With as many entrepreneurs as I interview, I am no longer surprised by the “stumblin’ into business” stories that I hear. While working in her husband’s practice (he was the town’s physician in Marseilles, Illinois, where they still live today) she met with one of the patients, a Type 2 diabetic named “Ron.” She was trying to help him with some education and menu planning and he said, “You know Seattle, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not going to do all that work. But, if you did it for me, I’d stay on it.”
It was then the “light bulb” went off above Seattle’s head. “I could help a lot of people if I could just do it for them,” she thought. And the rest as they say is history.
Without any real experience in business, she knew she had a good idea that she had to run with. Today, Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating is a national enterprise, reaching all the way to Alaska and Hawaii through a special shipping strategy they came up with DHL.
SSHE has even developed a way to work with companies of all sizes to supplement their wellness programs by offering a “cafeteria plan” to a list of benefits that encourages healthy eating. They continue to add franchises around the country. Their latest covers the Kansas City Metro Area.
They pride themselves on serving fresh, well balanced, delicious meals from a five week rotating menu. The meals are freshly prepared and many include fresh fruit and salad. Over 180,000 meals per week come out of the Chicago-land kitchens, alone!
Seattle Sutton may be getting closer to that retirement date, but she maintains the energy and effervescence of someone half her age.
If I can get even half a portion of that by eating her food, count me in!