ORIGIN OF HERC’S
HERC’S Nutrition was established in 1996 by Dave Dekker. With nothing but $5000 in his bank account and a strong desire to create a small place in the world that supported his unique lifestyle, a national brand was born.
But the story of HERC’S isn’t just a story about the growth of a brand. It’s the story of a changing culture, of a world where health and wellness have become fundamental priorities, and of an industry that has a desire to help people thrive. It’s not just our story, it’s also yours.
The HERC’s family is one that grows every day as its team members branch out and open their own HERC’S locations across Canada. Committed to helping them succeed, HERC’S is always looking for more dedicated individuals to join our team. If you’re passionate about fitness, high-quality nutritional supplements that work, and empowering others, read more about our story and experience our culture.
Our story begins with a skinny teenage boy growing up in the 70’s with a stack of muscle magazines and a makeshift gym in his parent’s basement. In a time where people lived without thinking about their physical condition and health, fitness revolved mainly around physical appearance and bodybuilding competitions. Weight training, cardio exercise and fitness centers were obscure concepts to the general public. For the small few who did participate in the world of fitness, the main focus was to “beef up.” Influential icons at this time included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jake Steinfeld with their broad shoulders and huge muscles.
Dekker wanted more than bulging biceps – he wanted to use his physical condition to achieve confidence, strength, and happiness. And more than that, he wanted to share his passion with others.
Dejection to Conception
In the mid-1990s bodybuilding was gaining popularity but it was still an obscure concept for most. Only big cities and some lucky small towns had fully equipped gyms. Most people had heard about bodybuilders, and knew about lifting weights and eating well, but very few were really interested in it.
At 29 years old, cutting grass and driving trucks, Dekker felt it was time to make a lifestyle change. He wanted to create a world where self-improvement, healthy eating, and happiness were the key pillars of not only his life, but everyone’s.
There were small local sports equipment stores that sold some workout gear and there was a semblance of protein and vitamins found in little boutiques, but there wasn’t a place to go that reflected the pages of his favourite magazines and movies. Dekker had so many ideas in his head of all the things he felt people were missing out on and he began making a lot of friends that felt the same way he did.
“I felt that there may be other people out there looking for the same things I was and that maybe I could build a place that would solve all those problems. Welcome to Herc’s Hideaway and Muscle Shop”
Open for Business
As the idea of fitness began gaining momentum, so did HERC’s. More and more people were coming in to see and shop at the store. But that wasn’t enough – Dekker needed to learn the business inside and out before he could run a successful and lasting business. Dekker travelled the world, met with industry icons, manufacturers, formulators and investors to gain first-hand knowledge of every aspect of the fitness world.
“I had this sense of duty not just for myself, but for all of the people walking through the door of my small store. I was on an endless hunt for information and access for the sole purpose of benefiting our growing society.”
Meeting a Legend
HERC’s was beginning to gain traction and it was time to create a logo that reflected everything Dekker and his store represented. An old piece of wood with a hand-painted cartoon on it just wouldn’t cut it anymore.
While visiting the Arnold Sports Festival, Dekker had the special privilege of running into one of the most influential fitness and body icons of the time: Arnold Schwarzenegger. As fate would have it, Dekker and Schwarzenegger had their first encounter in the men’s room. After sharing a cigar, Dekker pulled out a sheet with HERC’s logo ideas and handed it to his hero. Arnold took one look at the sheet at pointed at the HERC’s logo we all know today.
The Advent of “The HERC’s Shake”
The Herc’s Shake was developed as a post-workout treat. It became such a big hit that it is now a staple of the Herc’s business.
At the turn of the 21st century, Herc’s held extravagant gala openings featuring fitness icons and models in order to target its desired client base. During this time, Herc’s was known for hulking male bodybuilders and bikini-clad female models.
But as the health and wellness industry began to evolve, so did the Herc’s demographic. The men and women that began coming into the store weren’t interested in extreme physical fitness – they just wanted to be a little healthier and happier. This is when the Herc’s retail model began to shift and place more of a focus on everyday people.
As the idea of health and wellness began evolving into a catch-all for the desire to achieve a state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, the popularity of supplements, activewear, and fitness centers has continued to increase. But there weren’t many stores that catered to healthy lifestyles. So Herc’s became a staple store for the quality of life for your family. Everyday men and women with busy careers, families, and a desire to increase their overall health and wellness have influenced the look and feel of our Herc’s stores.
“It’s about community, it’s about supporting one another, it’s about understanding that everyone has their own unique goal.”
Our Future is you
Our goal is to provide a healthy and safe environment where Canadians feel comfortable walking into any one of our retail store locations.
HERC’s is always looking for more dedicated individuals to join our team. If you’re passionate about fitness, high-quality nutritional supplements, and empowering others, read more about our culture and owning a HERC’s license. Let’s empower each other.