‘It beats being a camp counselor’

Two 19-year-olds run dream business with Smoothie Haven in Rockland

Posted:  Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 2:30pm

ROCKLAND — Last summer, Keenan Hendricks and Christian Straka were camp counselors and wondered out loud how they could start their own business.

“We’re both physically active and play sports, and were thinking, how we could sell something that was enjoyable and healthy,” said Hendricks.

“We like smoothies, but most places they’re really expensive, so we thought we should make the kind of smoothies we could afford ourselves,” said Straka.

Smoothie Haven launched June 13, featuring an array of fruit, yogurt and juice smoothies for $5.

Larry Reed, owner of Eclipse Restaurant at 2 Park Ave, was instrumental in helping them open, as the newly painted shack sits right in the Eclipse patio.

“We get all of our ingredients from Larry’s suppliers,” said Straka. “None of this would be possible without Larry’s help.”

After nearly a month in business, sales have been robust. They’ve already made back their initial investment in equipment and renovations to the wooden structure in addition to a profit.

Straka said their most popular smoothie right now is the Sunset: strawberries, pineapple and mango and peach juice.

“We get a lot of recommendations from our friends and family on different recipes to try, so we are constantly experimenting with new flavors,” she said.

Straka and Hendricks will be going back to college in the fall and want to see their seasonal business expand by next summer.

“I think this place has a lot of potential and our goal for next summer is to get a liquor license so we can offer alcoholic smoothie shots and make this patio an outside bar in the summer,” said Straka.

Hendricks added, “Of course, we’d have to hire someone who is 21.”

Both young men have taken business courses in their first year of college, which has helped their entrepreneurial venture.

“We hired a couple of 14-year-old kids to wear a banana and strawberry costume on the corners of Park and Main streets to bring some attention to us over here,” said Straka. “I’ve actually used a lot of skills in accounting and business classes I took this year. It’s applying everything into a real world job —like keeping track of receipts and figuring out how to cut down costs and maximize profits.”

Does it beat being a camp counselor?

“Oh yeah, I love it,” Hendricks said. “First job I don’t hate.”

“It’s a lot more fun,” added Straka.

Check out the The Smoothie Haven on their Facebook page.

Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com