Boise man loses $1 million on My Fit Foods, closes Valley stores

adutton@idahostatesman.comMay 24, 2013 

0905 bi newbiz myfit01

Donn Wilson, owner of My Fit Foods in Meridian, shows the variety of meals being portioned for quick pre-made meals with an emphasis on healthy foods. The franchise sells refrigerated, ready-to-go meals prepared fresh at the Meridian location in The Portico near Eagle and Franklin roads

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

Donn Wilson was one of the first to bring McDonald's fast food to the U.S., opening the 18th McDonald's restaurant in 1957.

That's just the start of the 78-year-old Boise man's resume, which includes owning the Wendy's franchise for Canada, being an owner of the Houston Astros, launching a technology company in Minneapolis and another in San Francisco, helping to start Blockbuster Video, and finally, moving to Idaho.

"This is where I want to spend the rest of my days," said Wilson, whose children live in nearby states.

Idaho is where Wilson's entrepreneurial career, spanning about six decades, ends.

He used loans and personal savings totaling about $1 million to open a local franchise of My Fit Foods, a grab-and-go and membership-based meal business. That was just over a year ago. But the business never made the profit he expected, and Wilson soon was digging from his own pocket to cover costs. He shuttered all the locations and laid off his employees over the past month.

"The losses were just too great. I opened them all up and expected to have great volume," Wilson said. "It didn't happen."

My Fit Foods is a Texas-based company founded in 2006. Area Director Hanis Bowens told the Idaho Statesman last year that it hoped to open enough stores to reach 80 percent of the Boise metro area.

But local shoppers didn't cotton to the healthy, premade meal membership idea, which costs about $500 to $600 for a 21-day meal program. The individual meal sales weren't enough to sustain the shops, Wilson said.

He'd hoped "to bring jobs to Idaho, and bring healthy food to Idaho," he said. "I knew Idaho needed jobs ... more professional, high-paying jobs," and his My Fit Foods staff included nutritionists and management-level employees. At its peak, the business employed about 60 people.

The concept had worked in bigger cities, but it also worked in smaller ones like Tulsa, Okla., he said. It just didn't appeal to Ada County residents.

Wilson plans to retire now. But first, he wants anyone who has questions — especially customers who still had money in their accounts, a few of whom he's been unable to reach — to email him at donn@clearwire.net.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448

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