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Recipe for a Boost: Local Entrepreneur Strikes Again

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Susan Hardwicke knew she was onto something when she went for a run and felt like she'd "been shot out of a cannon."

Hardwicke, a local psychologist, entrepreneur and Internet pioneer, achieved local fame in the 1990s for her successful startup, the online educational-testing company EduTest. But soon she might be better known to weightlifters and athletes.

About a year ago, Hardwicke whipped up the formula for a new energy bar in the kitchen of her Wyndham home and sampled it before taking that aforementioned run. Now her Henrico County-based company, Virginia Bionutrients, is selling the Fuser Energy Micro-Bar in four flavors in Vitamin Shoppe stores and gyms nationwide.

"It's amazing what you can do in a suburban kitchen — and with a Cuisinart no less" she says.

Hardwicke's been treating attention-deficit disorders in children and adults for years, and she was working on a formula in her kitchen for naturally treating ADD. That's when she says she discovered the energetic benefits that resulted in combining ribonucleic acid (RNA) with cocoa, lecithin and natural bee products such as royal jelly and honey.

"Any one of those might give you a little bit of a boost," Hardwicke says, "but when you put them together as a whole, it's more than the sum of its parts,"

The Fuser Bar, which is manufactured in Nashville, was a big hit with weightlifters and ultimate fighting champions when it made its national debut at Arnold Schwarzenegger's Arnold Fitness Expo in Ohio this month, Hardwicke says.

In addition to athletes, the bar can help workaday adults who need a little pick-me-up to get them through their evening gym workouts, she says: "It doesn't pick you way up and drop you way down. It gives you a good boost that lasts for several hours. … This has the capability to really … improve the quality of life and help you work out longer, and help your brain function better."

A Richmond native, Hardwicke was one of the first four women to graduate from the University of Virginia in 1973. "I'm used to being a pioneer," she says, and after her Internet trailblazing, she now wants to be a leader in improving cognitive skills through nutrition. Looking beyond ADD and athletes, she's also researching natural methods of combating aging and Alzheimer's. S

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