Mary (Morgan) Sheckler’s favorite childhood toy was not a Barbie doll, Legos, Easy Bake Oven, hula hoop or an Etch-A-Sketch.
“When I was little, I always wanted to play on a cash register,” Mary says. “My mom always thought I would own a business or do something in business, but I just thought I needed to be a teacher.”
Mary grew up in rural Bloomington, the daughter of two physical education teachers. She enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the fall of 1999 with aspirations of following in her parent’s footsteps.
“I just felt like I needed to be the teacher and the coach,” she says. “But growing up, I always loved fitness and I just loved the cash register. I wanted to play that all the time when I was little.
“I was a chubby child and I was teased about it when I was little until about seventh grade. When I was in eighth grade, the class prophecy was that I was going to own a gym someday.”
College internships allowed Mary to find her strength in the business world. After a transfer to Winona State University, she returned to UW-Platteville and graduated with a degree in business and an emphasis in human resources.
The eighth grade prophecy has been fulfilled. And then some.
Mary and her husband of nearly 11 years, Brent Sheckler, launched Her Suppz last month (www.hersuppz.com), a health and fitness website created specifically for women.
“It was Brent’s idea to start Her Suppz because we felt like women were being overlooked in the industry,” Mary says. “If you go to Suppz.com, it just screams ‘bodybuilder.’ It has the sexy pictures of those girls that are in fitness. That is not what general women want. We want to appeal to everybody.
“We are the first of its kind in the industry. All of our big reps we talk to and companies we talk to are so excited about this.”
Her Suppz features fitness advice, recipes, health and wellness news, inspirations and testimonials. Mary has authored three blog posts to date and looks forward to writing more.
“I feel like with Her Suppz I want to give confidence to young girls,” she says. “That is my overall goal someday.
“After my experiences growing up, I want even little girls to know that they are good enough. Girls have so much pressure on them to be a certain person, but they are all their own people and they are all good at something.”
Mary developed the hashtag #findyourstrength, featured on select Her Suppz clothing, available for purchase at Her Suppz.
“I felt like #findyourstrength relates to a lot of different things,” Mary says. “It is not always about getting skinny or losing weight. We have people that have diseases and have overcome them through fitness.
“I am running right now. It is not my strength, but I am going to find it, doing it. I think it relates to so many women in different areas of their life. You find the strength in you to achieve goals.”
Mary is training for a half-marathon she will run next month. She runs four or five times each week, teaches three classes at Suppz Gym and lifts weights twice each week.
If that were not enough, Brent and Mary own four Suppz Gym locations (Lancaster, Fennimore, Boscobel and Prairie du Chien) and two Suppz storefronts (La Crosse and Eau Claire). They also co-own two Papa Murphy’s stores with Brent’s parents.
How do they do it all?
“We have really good employees,” Mary says. “We have really awesome people and we try to keep them happy.”
One of those employees is Bobby Vale, general manager of each of the Suppz Gym locations.
“Mary is a very special and considerate friend and boss,” Vale says. “She has big dreams and she has the willpower to reach those dreams. For example, Her Suppz is one of her many accomplishments.
“I love being a part of the Suppz family for that reason and many others. Brent and Mary have both made my job feel like it isn’t a job and I love going to work everyday.”
When Suppz.com launched in 2008, its home was a closet in the Fennimore gym. The business outgrew the closet and later a Roosevelt Street location before a new 12,000 square foot warehouse opened late last year in Fennimore’s industrial park.
“Your skin gets thicker in this and you have to be able to swallow a lot of things and take those chances and be OK with that,” Mary says. “We haven’t not worked for this. We have worked really hard. It is fun. We enjoy it. It is scary expanding, but we believe in what we doing and we think Her Suppz is going to be really big.”
Brent and Mary are also parents to three children, Ethan, Jackson and Adalyn.
“We have really well-rounded kids,” Mary says. “They are with us at work a lot of times. They always get bedtime stories, every one of them. From mom, they all want mom to read to them because I read better than dad. Brent does come home during the day and play with them when they are there. They will play catch. There is no rule in my house about throwing a football in our house, that is for sure. That happens.
“It is tough sometimes, but I think Brent and I being in the same industry, we can cover each other. But we do get a ton of support from my family and Brent’s family. Without them, we could not do what we do.”
Since the launch of Her Suppz, Brent and Mary are working together again for the first time in almost a decade. They first teamed at Papa Murphy’s prior to their marriage.
“Brent just did his own thing,” Mary recalls. “You are not supposed to turn the mixer to two. It has to stay on one when you mix. He turned it on two and there was dough flying everywhere.
“When the Fennimore gym came up for sale, I said, let’s do this. You can do this and I will do that, and we can do it together, but we don’t have to work together all the time. Now we have chosen to work together again.
“Brent is an entrepreneurial genius and I bring him back down to earth sometimes. I think we both have different strengths and weaknesses. We can work together and we don’t get enough of each other either.”
Brent is happy to report his workplace reunion with Mary is off to a great start.
“It got pretty ‘guy-ish’ at the old warehouse and now it smells better with all the essential oils here,” he jokes. “But seriously, the Her Suppz part of the business has brought a lot of people in the door that hadn’t before. They are checking out the clothes, the oils, healthy snacks, everything.”
Mary says she enjoys that no two days on the job are the same.
“I find every day fun and different,” she says. “One day I am doing human resources stuff, then I am doing marketing stuff. Then I am making pizzas or teaching classes at the gym.”
What does Mary envision for Her Suppz in 2015?
“We are the only women’s company of its kind online and I want to be the biggest player out there for this,” Mary says. “I want it to be the go-to site for women, whether they are just starting a workout program, whether they are looking to get healthier, whether they exercise every day or they are an IBF pro, like a professional. I want to appeal to everybody.”