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Healthy meets convenience at new business in Fox Cities

Fox Valley Meal Prep recently opened its doors on Main Street in Little Chute

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June 1, 2023

LITTLE CHUTE – Who doesn’t appreciate the seeds of a new business beginning in a garage? What started as a passion for fitness for a Little Chute couple has grown to not only include a CrossFit gym (Bad Batch CrossFit in Kaukauna) but is now complemented by a meal prep service (Fox Valley Meal Prep in Little Chute).

James Long and Destiny Antuna – transplants from Alaska – got their feet wet in entrepreneurship in Wisconsin when they opened a garage-based gym in January of 2022 – which later transitioned into Bad Batch CrossFit.

“We originally started the gym in our one-stall garage,” Antuna said. “We had friends come and work out, and they brought their friends, and it grew into its own location.”

Antuna said things really began to take off when her mom and her mom’s friends began working out at the gym.

“I started programming for them,” she said. “Next thing you know, their friends were asking to join us. Then the word spread on social media.”

The success Long and Antuna were seeing with the gym eventually sparked the idea of continuing to support a healthy lifestyle in connection with working out – food choices.

“You can have people workout four or five times a week yet it seems like the biggest obstacle to achieving their goals was nutrition,” she said. “Then we thought, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a service they could use for our members to get closer to their goals? We did some research and learned there was nothing in the area.”

So, the couple, along with Ben Long – who is James’ brother and has 16 years of restaurant experience – took steps to create one.

Antuna said the partnership with Ben brought a key element of meal-prep knowledge to the team because simply cooking for themselves to launching into a business is quite a leap.

“We are fine cooks for ourselves, and we will certainly eat what we make, but Ben has the experience in the restaurant industry,” she said. “When he decided to move here from Alaska, (partnering with Ben) jump-started everything. He was the missing piece we needed.” 

Ben owned a quick-service restaurant in Alaska that featured items like mac and cheese and grilled cheese. 

“I sold my restaurant in Alaska, and when James said his basement was unoccupied, he convinced me to come to Wisconsin,” he said. “James and Destiny were chatting about people potentially needing a meal prep service. I said, ‘Hey, this is what I do for a living. I cook.’ They had the dreams, and I just fed them.”

Antuna said she and Ben worked together to create the logo and the business website – all while James was traveling for work.
“I came back and said, ‘Oh, we have a business. I’m gone for a week and see what happens,’” James said.

Next up, Antuna said, was coming up with a menu.

She said the team evaluated delivered, frozen meal options from all over the country.
Digital research 
Antuna said the trio did their homework and uncovered features consumers were looking for. 

“Before we opened, we conducted several months of online marketing research posing questions like ‘this is coming to the Valley – what would you like to see, and what would you like to eat?’” she said. “We were surprised by the response – (receiving comments), like ‘Wow, we have been looking for something like this.’”

The Fox Valley Meal Prep concept, Antuna said, is different from other meal delivery companies where the ingredients show up on the doorstep and require preparation.

At Fox Valley Meal Prep, the meals are ready to eat – perfect, she said, for busy families and professionals who want a healthy, convenient alternative.

Antuna said Fox Valley Meal Prep started serving customers out of a shared kitchen space working one eight-hour day, which included seven hours of cooking and one hour for customers to pick up – with most customers pre-ordering meals online.

“We would have to take the orders and bring all of our supplies into the kitchen and cook as efficiently as we could,” she said. “Customers only had a one-hour window in which to pick up their orders.”

// Destiny Antuna said opening a storefront unlocked opportunities to reach a new market – with the addition of a grab-and-go cooler. Submitted Photo

Antuna – who heads up the social media, marketing and management aspects of the company – said business quickly outgrew this model. 

Opening a storefront, she said, opened up opportunities to reach a new market – with a grab-and-go cooler.

“People forget to order in advance, or they’ve never heard of us and now they say, ‘I don’t have to cook dinner anymore or pack a lunch for work,’” she said.

Perfect-fit location
Fox Valley Meal Prep is located at 112 E. Main St. in Little Chute – in a space left vacant next door to Seth’s Coffee during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Antuna said the space was supposed to be occupied by a pizza restaurant but that never transpired.

“We walked by it many times and kept peeking in the windows to see if anything was happening,” she said. “It’s hard to come by existing kitchens. When the owner agreed to work with us, we knew it was meant to be.”

Antuna said the Fox Valley Meal Prep space has a welcoming and bright atmosphere with walls that reflect a video game theme – which was painted by the Long brothers, who share an interest in gaming.

“We started with a Tetris theme and then added Pac-Man, all while highlighting 2023 – the year the business opened,” James said. “And red furniture ties it all in.”

Most of our orders, Antuna said, are pre-orders and grab and go, because that is what the business is known for.

Now with the brick-and-mortar location, she said the team looks to broaden that scope – now offering in-store eating.

“We always enjoy going out for a nice meal,” she said. “We have our nine-month-old, and sometimes you can’t always go out. We wanted to create a place where families could go and hang out that is not the bar scene.”

Antuna said the space also has Jenga, Connect Four and other group games to make the spot feel like a family room.

Fox Valley Meal Prep also offers a variety of beers.

Antuna said Fox Valley Meal Prep participates in a variety of special events, including Bend and Brew and the U.S. Open Powerlifting Event.

The team can also be found at McFleshman’s Brewing Company (115 S State St. in Appleton) on Friday evenings at the beer garden.

More details
Ben said there are clear differences between what Fox Valley Meal Prep offers and other food options available.

“One rule here – we are not going to fry any foods,” he said. “We have no fryers, and we are going to make sure this is as healthy as we can make it with a little twist.”

That twist, Ben said, includes nutritious and creative meals and snack options with clever names – including Buff Chick, Basically a Burger, Build Thy Own bowls, as well as protein waffles and protein balls.

?Ben said the menu is designed to create options whether you like rice or cauliflower rice, quinoa or potatoes – allowing customers to mix or match.

“You can be healthy and still live your busy life,” he said. “That’s what we are here for. We are 90 seconds away from you eating right.”

Ben said Fox Valley Meal Prep offers in-store pick-up and delivery options.

All Fox Valley Meal Prep items include a nutritional information label, as well as reheating information.

For more information on Fox Valley Meal Prep, including details on ordering, pick-up times and in-store eating hours, visit

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