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Weight-loss business aims for next level

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Posted on March 29, 2012 |
By John Flowers



vtrim5819.jpg
VTRIM, A NEW weight-loss management company based in Middlebury, is aggressively pursuing new clients in the education, military and health care industries. Pictured are, left to right, Vtrim Marketing Manager Darcy Morter, Business Development Manager Kate Myerson, Director Krista Conley, Online Instruction Manager Dana Notte and Strategic Operations Manager Rachel Pentecost. Independent photo/Trent Campbell

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury weight-loss business Vtrim has widened its net and is lining up clients in the national health care, military and education sectors.

Vtrim was originally developed through the University of Vermont’s division of continuing education. Vtrim bills itself as a gimmick-free, research-based program that dispenses individualized weight-loss information to participants through classes and on-line counseling from trained facilitators.

Middlebury resident Krista Conley, who leads Vtrim’s growing staff of six based at 23 Pond Lane, explained the program does not offer any food supplements, pills, milkshakes or special diets. Rather, it is rooted in scientific research and behavior modification aimed at enabling clients to change their habits to lose weight and keep it off.

Conley said Vtrim has already established a keen following among UVM students, faculty and staff. Now Conley and her staff want to take the program to the next level.

“We’ve been hiring, building a team, rolling out ideas and testing the market,” Conley said on Tuesday. “You really have to capture people’s attention.”

Conley has been raising capital — $725,000 thus far — to take Vtrim nationwide. That means extensive travel while developing marketing material, software and other tools to sell the Vtrim program to major clients.

Locally, Conley has already held what she termed as some promising discussions with Middlebury College. Nationally, she is seeking a foothold with major employers — including the U.S. military, with millions of soldiers (and their families) for whom the Vtrim program and its on-line component would be well-suited for those who are deployed.

Participants are expected to fill out a daily journal of their eating and exercise habits, and entries are reviewed by Vtrim’s trained facilitators. The facilitators can then offer one-on-one advice based on areas in which the client is struggling.

Vtrim costs $395 for an initial 12-week program, and clients can invest an additional $395 for a follow-up 12-week maintenance program.

Conley was pleased to report that Vtrim’s current client list includes such businesses as the Vermont Federal Credit Union, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and the Greater Burlington YMCA.

Supporters of the program, Conley noted, have recognized the importance of weight management as a tool in preventing more serious health problems in the future — such as diabetes and heart failure.

“It is all about behavior change,” Conley said.

More information about Vtrim can be found at www.vtrimonline.com.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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