This past Saturday, Oct. 8, was the grand opening of K’s Nutrition. Located at 377 College Street, K’s Nutrition is Amherst’s newest local nutrition bar.
It is owned and operated by Bryant Keeney, a young Pioneer Valley native, but Keeney says it’s really a family business. “My family helps out, so it’s a family business in that way,” said Keeney. “My mom works here, my sister works on the weekends, and my dad helps out in the back.”
The store is located less than a mile from the college, across the street from local ethnic grocery stores like Mom’s House Chinese Market and Neighbor Food Mart. It boasts over 40 healthy smoothies and energy drinks, according to the store’s official Instagram account. An updated menu and hours can also be found on its website.
K’s Nutrition is the direct result of months of planning, and the store has opened just in time for some tasty drinks to lift the post-Fall Break spirits. With trees changing colors all around, the entire journey from the college to the store feels reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” album and Joan Chen’s “Autumn in New York” (2000).
The shop is Instagrammable at every corner. At the entrance, there is a harvest backdrop for guests who want quick photo opportunities. The store’s interior is even more so, painted pastel turquoise, with tiny shelves full of plant pots and little art figures.
“I came to Amherst knowing that I wanted to create this kind of an atmosphere where people can come to different study places and enjoy friends,” Keeney said. “When I was looking for spots, I was in Amherst, and I just love[d] the positive town. There is a certain kind of culture out here that I do not feel in other places, so I fell in love with this.”
Before starting his own business, Keeney had experience working at a similar shop. After working there, he began learning drink recipes. When asked about the best items on the menu, Keeney was excited to share his top three recommendations for refreshers. “This is going to be biased, of course, but I really like our piña colada, our watermelon crawl, and our passion fruit refreshers,” he said.
For student athletes, Keeney added, “My top three [protein] shakes are the Banana Nut Bread, Mint Oreo, and Peanut Butter Cookies.”
He continued with his workout-related drink recommendations: “Definitely go with a protein shake. Try the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough! If you need some energy to kickstart the day or to go to a tailgate, give some of our refreshers a try.”
“It’s really up to [the customer’s] own personal tastes,” Keeney added. “All of them have 24 to 30 grams of protein. If they want to add some more protein, we can add an extra scoop and get eight more grams of protein.”
Keeney thought French vanilla was a “very good” flavor for a typical chilly day at Amherst. He also favored their salted caramel. “Those are my go-tos,” he said.
Kids will also be able to enjoy aloe refreshers themed after Avengers and Disney characters, such as Elsa or Captain America. With add-ons like Boba Bubble and Collagen Beauty Booster, refreshments can be customized to one’s liking.
Andrew Ortiz, a sophomore sports management major at UMass, ordered a Skittles-flavored refresher with boosted caffeine. “It tasted really good, and all of my boys said the same about the drinks they ordered,” he said. “The price is very good for the portion sizes also, and it only cost[s] around six or seven dollars for each one, which is way better than the other nutrition places I have been to. [The] people who work there are really nice, and my drink came out pretty quickly. I definitely will be going there more often.”
Mbuh Samuel Nkengla ’26 had an Irish Creme Latte with a sweetness of 70 percent, which was just the right amount according to him, and said there were “no words” he could find to describe its “tastiness.” I ordered an iced French Vanilla Coffee for my first time at the store, which did not disappoint. Its light texture and vanilla aftertaste, complemented by sweet whipped cream on top, boosted my afternoon energy.
In addition to a collection of shakes, refreshers, and coffees, the store also stocks piña colada, chocolate, and mint cake pops at the counter.
The store recently introduced its “Autumn Leaves” special drinks, which contain a range of autumn-approved flavors like tropical, cherry, strawberry, mango, and pineapple.
Keeney is also expanding the menu. “We’re trying to incorporate some new product lines that are coming in,” he said. “I’ve already talked to several local businesses to get different ingredients like granola that [are] locally sourced and made.”
He added that these ingredients would be coming in the near future.
Keeney also said that he would be interested in directly asking customers for ingredient recommendations.
Discounts and deals added further excitement to the store’s commerce. Visitors are given a loyalty card, where they get ink stamps every time they purchase a drink. A free drink of their choice is awarded at no cost after their ninth purchase. And, if buyers post an Instagram story check-in and tag @ksamherst, they will get one dollar off of their total payment.
In a month or two, Keeney will consider expanding the opening hours to give customers a broader timeframe of visits.
He is also thinking of implementing “students’ happy hours” — when college students with ID cards can get an exclusive price — in the near future.
Keeney was optimistic about Amherst’s huge local support. He expressed gratitude to friends who came for support and new faces he met on the opening day. “It was really nice to see new people,” Keeney said.
Many visitors were eager to share their discovery of K’s Nutrition through their Instagram stories, and this warm, welcoming atmosphere was reposted on K’s Nutrition’s own Instagram story.
Keeney added that it felt surreal to “actually have it up and operating” and “see everyone come in, building that community connection, having groups of friends come in, and enjoying the drinks.”