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Shane Chase has taken an added step to cash in on America's growing $27 billion dietary supplement industry.

The 30-year-old business owner recently opened his second Complete Nutrition franchise in the Chattanooga area, making it the third store he's opened in two years. The 1,600-square-foot location in Hixson on Highway 153 offers supplements in areas such as healthy aging, vitamins, cleansing and detox, weight management, and protein and gainers, that start at $49.

"Chattanooga's a pretty good metro area," said Chase, referring to his decision to open a second store in the area. "It's a fun city, and it's pretty fitness oriented. There are a lot of active people here."

Chase said that when it comes to choosing the right dietary supplement, it's a case-by-case situation. He said when customers come into the store, it's important for him to get an idea of what their lifestyle is like and what they want to achieve.

He said the most common supplements people are looking for tend to be in the weight management category, but vitamins and kits that include several supplements also are popular.

Nationally, vitamins make up the majority of dietary supplement sales, at 34 percent in 2009, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

The term "dietary supplement" has only been around for about 16 years and was formed by Congress under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which created a regulatory framework for safety and labeling of the products. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure products are safe before they're marketed, and consumers are advised to check with a doctor before using supplements, because some may interact with prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

That's why Tyler Kelley, a manager who works at the Hixson and Gunbarrel Road Complete Nutrition locations, said education is important for employees. The store's small staff works hard to stay on top of the latest products so they can tell customers as much about the supplements as possible before they're bought, he said.

"We genuinely care about people's results," he said. "We ask questions like, 'Do you exercise?' and 'What kind of nutrition do you get?' So it's really about deciding what is best for you, for your body and lifestyle."

Kelley said the personalized touch at Complete Nutrition also has helped sales stay steady within the first month of opening the new location. The store draws a lot of foot traffic, since it's located between Target and PetsMart, and also is located in a growing part of town.

"The rapport we build with our clients is very important," Kelley said. "If you come in here and want to lose 20 pounds and I'm the one who helps you get there, you'll want to see me again. You won't come in here and see a new head every 30 days."

Contact Brittany Cofer at bcofer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ brittanycofer.

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