While Robert Brox was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, he created a project that resulted in his initial business idea, Fit For Life, which offered fitness training and classes.
After years of working as a traveling fitness trainer and selling fruit and veggie juices, he and his wife, Jolie, wanted to do more with their business.
“We wanted to expand to then start doing products and things like that,” Jolie Brox said. “We decided to switch over and create Fit4YouMKE, the LLC, which would be the umbrella of both our products and services. We transitioned to the LLC right before the pandemic.”
Though the pandemic was a traumatic experience for most, during that time the Broxes were able to secure funding to help them sustain their business and open their new store, Fit4YouMKE Marketplace, located at 6007 N. Teutonia Ave, which officially opened last July.
Fit4YouMKE is best known for their lavender lemonade. This started when a friend needed drinks for her bridal shower, which was rustic lavender themed. They cultivated their own recipe for the drink using healthier ingredients.
“We decided to use alkaline water instead of distilled water,” Jolie said. “Instead of white sugar, we used cane sugar. Then one of the ingredients was honey and we were okay with that. But one of our good friends, who’s a vegan chef, really likes our drinks and said if we could substitute the honey for agave nectar, then it’ll make it a vegan friendly drink. That just opened the floodgates for us to go to larger vegan festivals and really be able to get the product out there in a larger capacity … Our goal was to eventually get it into other local stores and restaurants and tea shops and things throughout the city. Specifically trying to target Black-owned businesses to help circulate our dollars.”
They understand the struggles of being a Black-owned business and endured their own dilemmas with trying to get their alkaline ice machine installed in their store. They work intently to support Black-owned businesses in Milwaukee through their Black Business Pop-Up Saturdays, which provide a space for businesses to come and share their products that all revolve around health and wellness.
The Broxes both operate the business and work together to provide natural and vegan friendly products to the community. Their store is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm.
Fti4YouMKE products are also available in stores including: Confectionately Yours inside Sherman Phoenix and on N. MLK Dr., HoneyBee Safe Wellness & Apothecary, Sherman Park Grocery Store, Delicious Bites, Twisted Plants, The Collective at Bayshore Mall, The Unity Market #3, 1700 Pull Up and Brooks’ Balanced Kitchen.
Along with the lavender lemonades, which are sold in 16 ounce and gallon sizes, they also sell lavender shea butters. Their products are available for shipping, delivery or pick up at Fit4YouMKE Marketplace.
The Broxes are also managers of the Marcus Garvey Garden Project, located on 37th and Burleigh. Through a collaboration with Milwaukee Groundworks, they’ve been managing it for four years.
There are eight garden beds and two 250 gallon retention tanks to water the grass. They have also partnered with Teens Grow Greens to help maintain the garden, but Robert mentioned how maintaining the garden over the last few weeks has been tough.
“It’s a community garden, the neighbors are extremely helpful and beneficial,” he said. “It’s just one of our olive branches to the community to beautify the community and to provide healthy produce that’s easily accessible to further help out the neighborhood.”
Supporters can donate to support the Broxes as they continue to uplift the lives of their community members through the community garden and their businesses. They hope people come and try their products and others from Black-owned businesses to continue improving their lives.
“Some people will say, ‘Oh sometimes it’s too expensive to try to eat healthy’ and we try to explain to people that you’re going to pay for it now, or you pay for it later,” she said. “Why not invest in your health and wellness as much as you can now and just find substitutes of things that you can do to increase your life value, instead of short changing yourself now.
“If we can be a place that provides that for customers and introduce them to other businesses and products that can help them then we just hope everyone values their life enough to take the steps to do what they got to do.”