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Whiskey & Wisdom: @whiskey.and.wisdom
Chris Kellum: @ctkellum
LinkedIn: Christopher Kellum
Tyler Yaw: @tyler_yaw_
LinkedIn: Tyler Yaw
Welcome back everybody. This is Tyler y'all and I have Chris Kellum here. My cohost what's up. And since we are still doing 75 hard, there is still no whiskey. However, the setup in front of me looks very similar to every other week. Anyway, cuz we have our water here, but I also have a drinks with an X drink in front of me, like every other episode as well. But this time I have the owners of drinks in the cargo district. So tell us a little bit about yourself and what are the drinks that we have in front of us here? Well, I'm April I'm Joey and we both own drinks, which is a plant-based energy drink cafe here in the cargo district. Tell us a little about what you sell. We basically carry Lotus and Isai the Lotus drinks for like Lotus refresher teas. We call it our 21st spin on coffee, just because it's the coffee fruit that that Lotus uses. And then we carry our Isai bowls. I believe we're unique when it comes to Isai in the area. We don't, we don't blend our bowls using a base pack. Okay. We just, we have it shipped to us. So it's, it's blended and, and made into an Isai so bay, and then we have it shipped to us. And so that you get a hundred percent Isai. You don't have. Other fruits blended in with it. Okay. And it comes from Brazil. So we made sure we did our research and got, you know, the best, the SAE, the most organic and the best product. And so, yeah, we're super excited to be able to offer that to, it was important. It was important to us for what ingredients were put into it. And this is a hundred percent pure. I, because we wanted to make sure it was vegan and not other ingredients weren't added into it. Right. Nice. When I was talking to you guys about it originally a few weeks ago, I didn't even know there was different types of OAI out there that what people could even use. So that was pretty insightful too, just knowing that of you guys, you're getting the pure, like straight to the source. That's right. That's right. And, and we're learning every day. We're learning more about it and the different types of blends that other places use like S or mm-hmm battalion. Okay. I've seen that. So we're thinking about actually carrying Patta that's, that's been requested a number of times what makes that different it's made out of dragon fruit instead of a SAE. So it's a different kind of like bear or fruit, I guess you would say. Yeah. And so sometimes you'll mix like the SAE with the Patia and, you know, come up with a totally different new flavor. And that's kind of unique too in itself. So we've got some Patta, we've tried it out and it's chef's kiss. So we can't wait to introduce that with, along with some other exciting news that we're gonna be having coming up in the next few weeks of this month of September. Oh, cool. Nice. And one of the main reasons why I love getting your drinks so often is I usually come in the middle of the day to pick it up. And then when we're recording, I always have one in front of me because there's quite a bit of caffeine and energy in it. Right. That's correct. So tell us a little bit of how, how that kind of plays together and where the energy and caffeine comes from. So, so they use the cascara, which is the coffee fruit. The cascara actually has some caffeine in it, but they found that it was more useful for the polyphenols and the antioxidants. So it's packed with antioxidants. And then they pair it up and they, they concentrate, they pair it up with the Lotus flower and the Lotus flower gives you like more energy, a more vibrant feeling. They also put Shara Berry in it that levels out all the chemicals in your body from blood pressure to blood sugar, to hormones. yeah. Interesting. For those females that's right. and then they also add in the Brazilia. So that's a powerful adaptogen where the body. Holds onto it. So as you begin to crash or falter in the day or, or get tired, it helps bring you back up, gives you a better uplifting mood vitality. Okay. Yep. And then they pair it back up with the green coffee beans. Mm-hmm and green coffee, tea extracts. Oh, okay. So all of it's not been processed, like the beans haven't been roasted. So the whole point is so that your body can process it. Right. Okay. Yep. And so it keeps all the coffee polyphenols. And so you still get the same CA caffeine feel as if you're drinking coffee, but without the crash jitters or taste, and it's more fruity, floral flavor. Mm-hmm And so you can have your coffee anyway. You want it, you're not limited to six flavors, hot or cold. Right. We can do it cold. We can do frozen. We can add litter. We can add Boba. We can do flat water, sparkling water, like sky's the limit. And we can even have a loaded Lotus once, you know, and by adding, you know, alcohol to it. So. That's pretty cool. We've definitely taken it in, in a lot of directions. Yeah. that's awesome. We've experimented. Just the latest So how did you guys more, more personally for you guys, how did you find Lotus and what made you want to start a business out of it? Well, it's gonna sound funny but I wanted a coffee drink that didn't taste like coffee mm-hmm and that didn't give me the crash jitters or taste and, but still gave me that energy, but was also a refresher. Right. And so I would leave Starbucks with like a pink drink and it's with high fructose corn syrup. After I drank it, I felt yucky and blah, and never know energy. And it's not coffee. Yeah. Same thing for energy drinks. Like red bull. Yeah. Oh my God. Red bull. I would drink it crash. Yeah. And so with this, I came across it and fell in love with it. And I was like, I couldn't believe that it was coffee or it gave me like that feel without that crash jitters or taste. And I was able to focus and get through my day and then also kind of like Zen out if I needed to as well. and and fell in love with that. And then we came across the SAE and, you know, we just started making the, the drinks and the stuff at home, and then we just figured, wow, we've really got something. And then we kind of product tested it to our neighbors and stuff. And they're like, wow, we really like this. And and so then we just decided that we needed to open this up. And, and so we're like the only one out there that's got the Lotus and AAI and the vegan type items in our cafe. So we we're definitely plant based vegan, but we do have some options for other for other food types as well. So we try to be keto friendly, weight watcher, friendly mm-hmm gluten free. We just try to be real mindful of everybody's food habit or not food habits, but food, dietary needs. Got you. So Chrisy and Chris two random questions, one. Where are you guys from? Okay. we are from Nashville, North Carolina, which is near like Rocky Mount Raleigh Wilson area. Okay. Yeah. So about two hours from here. It's it's Nash county, which is right next to wake county. Yeah. Well, I've seen Nashville. Like I went to ECU and would go to like Raleigh and whatnot. And I'm like 64. Yeah. Yeah. I've seen there's nothing in Rocky, Mount nothing except our child right now. She's going to college there, so, oh, wow. Rocky Mount. Yep. At North Carolina Wesleyan university. Oh, she plays softball, her and her boyfriend. So he plays baseball. She's softball and they just went back last week. So I was real confused. I'm like her boyfriend plays softball. no, he plays baseball. No. No, they were holding down the fourth this summer. They were, they were, they were real big help with us cause we a great job. We just, we just opened in January and we've grown quite a lot. Mm-hmm and so having them here really helped us learn a lot of things that, what to do, what not to do, you know, going forward before we start hiring employees and stuff. And so it was really, you know, also too, we gotta spend time with her before going back to college. Yeah. So it was really kind of cool. She gotta work for the family. Nice. Right. so if anyone doesn't know, when we first recorded the podcast, we did a big stint. I think we did like three or four episodes at the original cargo district. Mm-hmm and me and Tyler were like well, it is noon and I have to drink all day and can't drink coffee. Yeah. And we just stumbled upon drinks. And I think they had, y'all had only been open like maybe a month mm-hmm and it was, it was quite. Refreshing to meet somebody. You guys had so much knowledge and so much like energy behind you. Like, Hey, you know, try this. And we, I know I had one, I drink energy drinks every once in a while, but like, you're right. I definitely get the crash, but I had this and I'm like, well, I had one of these and I drank all day and I felt just fine. Yep. So I definitely say check mark. Thank. Yeah, I haven't been back in a while just cuz when I'm here, it's like stupid late at night and I'm not trying to knock on your door at like six 30 and be like, Hey, that's fine. We get sometimes where people will DM us and say, Hey, I'm getting off work. I'm stuck in traffic. Don't close. We'll stay open. So we're, we're a mom and pop so we can do that. So. That's the one thing that we like about being, you know, our own little business that we own is that we can be more flexible versus a franchise. And so if we wanna stay open later, we can and you know, and nobody gets in trouble for it, but we, we're not early birds. So no, so often we'll stay after and, and prep for the next day. So a lot of people hit us up and, and it's fine. Nice. Oh, nice. We're usually there for another 30 minutes to an hour. Mm-hmm okay. That's good to know too. Hey kid. Tyler's like, Ooh, hold on. Now that may change when our hours change when we move. So yeah, that's, that's new exciting news. We'll be sometime moving up in the cargo district into a bigger space, still in the cargo mm-hmm but it'll be on rightful avenue. So hopefully sometime at the end of September, we'll have that. So we have a drive through inside seating and our parking space or parking lot. Nice. So. Much more convenient to get to us. Yes. Yeah. I'm excited about the drive through. Yes. Oh yeah. Yes. Well, we can call it a pickup window drive through whatever. So if you need to walk up to it, skateboard up to it, drive through it. It don't matter. We'll service you anyway. Yeah. I'm excited, but, but I'm a little nervous too. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Cuz we're going from 300 square feet to 1200 square feet with a drive through. I just, I just don't know what to expect with a drive through. I mean mm mm-hmm with just the, the staff we have. I, I, I don't know yet, so we're gonna have to pan things out. Right. See that's why you don't you do right. You say it's a pickup window. Cuz if you say drive through people, assume it's gonna be like a quick turnaround mm-hmm mm-hmm but if it's a pickup window, they're like, Hey, you know, that means like I can come up and like pick up, pick up an order. Right. Or I can drive up and place the order. There's a there's a little restaurant up in Jacksonville that has that. And it's like. I can't remember the name. It's AC my friend's works in the mortgage industry and she's like, yeah, we'll just walk across the street and get some of this. And it's the same thing, like a small little venue, but like they have a pickup window. Mm-hmm mm-hmm I think Dave's hot chicken here in Wilmington outta the mall. They've got a pick window. Cause I thought it was a drive through at first, when I came around, I was like, oh no, it's a pickup so you can order and just walk up. Mm-hmm I was like, it's a nice little set up. I'm excited for you guys just to kind of expand like the, the location you're at now is good for like getting people in there, getting knowledge, but, and definitely I'm excited that you guys can spread your wings a little bit and not like, well, that's walk into something about the cargo. They will help you like expand. So, you know, we knew we were, you know, getting into this, we were new at the business mm-hmm so, you know, we did the, our little unit we've got now, and then, you know, we've grown and we've had such positive feedback to where now they've got a bigger space and. We get to utilize it. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm excited that, you know, it's a very community aspect here, the cargo. So we wouldn't be where we're at, if it wasn't for the cargo in the community, honestly. Yeah. It seems like it really took off too, because it seems like every day there's someone else that's brand new. That's trying it for the first time, imposing it on Instagram. And they're super excited about it. Cause that's something else that I've noticed, like the first time someone tries your, your drink they're, they're excited about it. Its different exciting. Yes. That's our favorite part is when you've never had our drink and that first reaction, in fact, I joked with them about our new location to have like a reaction camera so we can see it, you know, because people are like, oh my God, cuz it's hard to explain what our drink is. When you say plant-based energy kind of like coffee, but it's fruity. You're like, what is it? Yes. Right. Well, we have, we have such a big waiting area that people, when people pick up their drink, they, you know, they get their straw and they go out the door. So seldom do we see their reaction? You know, sometimes they'll sit there and, and take the first sip there and, and, and we can see the don't be picking on our big old waiting area. It holds a total of four people. No, I'm very thankful for our huge waiting area. Yeah. I mean, that's exactly what I did the first time too, when we got it, I had no clue what to expect. And I was like, oh, this is supposed to have like some kind of energy in it. And I drank it and I got the flavor and I was like, oh my God, this is good. Well, what's funny is we have a is he a UFC fighter or something? Some guy that like, does. Fighting or something. Mm-hmm he came into our store today and he apparently likes our product and he wants us to kind of like sponsor him and stuff. And he says that it helps him before fights and stuff and gives him, you know, something that other energy drinks don't give him even, even when he goes to like the nutrition places. Oh yeah. Those powders or energy or whatever protein stuff, he says it doesn't come close to our drinks. Wow. He, he questioned us to death. And I think, I think it was to make sure that there wasn't an additive that might be like, make him like lose a pillow. Cause he is a lightweight lightweight wrestler or something. Oh yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I know what you're talking about. But yeah, they get, they get tested by USADA and, and so I thought maybe we had like, you know, maybe he didn't like something had adverse reaction cuz just the way he asked us, he was like, what's in this stuff when I was like, oh my God. Oh yeah, serious. He was excited. But we took his excitement as like we were in trouble. Yeah. Right. Or like, like he failed test or some sort and I'm like, oh my God, everything's legal in our stuff. I swear. It's plant based. You're right. there's weird things that will I mean it couldn't those you saw to test. Yeah. And even if, so this, this wouldn't be for the case for you guys, but there's, especially when it comes to supplements, supplements get made in the same batches as other. Performance enhancing type of drugs. Yep. And so just small little flake of that kinda things may contain peanuts because they're in a peanut factory. That's exactly what it is. And you saw, it goes so deep into that blood test. That even if what was right before it was illegal, if you had that next batch they'll, they'll catch you for it. Oh, we let him read the label and everything. So everything was legit. But at first I was like, oh, oh no, what happened? I was like, oh God, here sign this liability waiver. Right quick. Mm-hmm he, he was excited. And he told, he said he gave him the endurance that it was unlike any other, so, yeah. And so, so I have to go off his word, so I love so out of the two of us, I'm definitely the juice guy. Mm-hmm whereas Tyler's the coffee person. Gotcha. Which is hilarious. Oh yeah, because he, because when he found this, I was like, Tyler, you know, I don't like coffee like that. And so just trying this out and the, the many flavors you guys have is just always refreshing because I mean, no pun intended. But they, they are so vibrant with flavor. Yeah. And it doesn't feel very, like it's dragging you down. Cuz like you said, I was the king, everybody orders like, Hey, you want some coffee? I'm like, no, gimme a refresher. Mm-hmm And I'm like, but it doesn't really right. Right. Which is funny cuz someone's trying to Sue Starbucks because they didn't have the fruit they said was supposed to be. Yeah. Oh my goodness. I got more time for that. Right. it was hilarious. I saw that pop up and I was like, well that's a smart thing. So when it comes to juices, I mean this that's the flavor profile. Like if anyone's, you know, I'm always the one for flavoring and telling people this has like a very good, like. it reminds me of a juice without that, like after taste. Yeah, right? Yeah. Because or the powdery kind of, yeah. Like denseness of it. Mm-hmm yeah. Cuz I drink a ton of ocean spray. I'm like, oh this is really, it either tastes really good with no, like you feel like you haven't drank anything, but this, you can feel the actual juices involved in it. So my question is where'd you come up with the flavors? we were just like mad scientists in the, in the, in the no, no, no. They Tyran actually has a bunch of recipes that you can use, like make Italian sodas and stuff like that. Oh, okay. So we kind of, we kind of based off that and then started doing our own experimentation. As soon as we knew the measurements and different amounts to put in what we could like come up with our own recipes, like of anything technically and. Actually working there, there's a lot of things that overpower other things. So like for instance, coconut, if you like coconut in your drink, it doesn't take very much coconut at all to be like, bam. A lot of coconut. Oh, interesting. So, I mean, there's some other, there's some other I like passion, fruit, passion, fruit. It'll take over. Like you can put it in with pineapple and strawberry and you'll just taste passion, fruit, but people like that. And they like the hint of that other, other fruit. So to each his own, you know, if, if you want it, I'm gonna make it up for you. Right. That's cool. How you kind of have that autonomy there and just kind of build whatever the client wants or that you guys want to make. And, and a lot of of times we leave it up to them, cuz we say we've got, you know, 40 different flavors. What do you want? What do you normally like go for? What kind of flavors you that you like? And sometimes they'll say, well, this and this we'll mix it for 'em and. Either. They like it, or they don't, they don't we'll make something new if they like it. Like the Jubilee. That's our white Lotus with watermelon. Somebody just came and was like, man, I just want watermelon. We made it, they walked out the door, we made it, we liked it. It's on the menu. Oh wow. that's cool. So sometimes we take customers suggestions and their combinations and we'll add it on there. Sometimes we'll name it after people like we've got one called the world Slayer it's named after Garrin. And he does like a lot of photography and stuff around here and around the cargo and stuff. And so that's one, we have that's named after him. And we know when his friends come that, that, that he sent him cuz they just come in world Slayer, world Slayer. And I'm like, you didn't even look at the menu, you know, what's in it. do you even know that you like the flavors? They don't. And so we get a lot of referrals just by the name or, you know, or someone out of the cargo. If they see them with it, they're like, Ooh, I like that color. What did they have just by it being green and glittery, walking down the, the alleyway. And then we're like baby goed with glitter or blue lagoon. And so we can kind of tell by the colors of what the drinks are because we've mixed them so many times. yes. And she said it was a suggestion. Our menu itself is just a suggestion. Yeah. You can theoretically have anything you want. Wow. Yeah. So, so, because I love watermelon. Real talk. Do you use, like, where do you get the watermelon and flavor? Like, do you just like press a watermelon? Like where do you get it from? Well through Tran or moan. Okay. We order through like the syrup website. We, we started off using Tran. We liked the, we liked the Tiran because it was pure cane sugar, little did we know some of the other, other brands were too but we really didn't want to do anything with high fructose corn syrup. And in, in the beginning we knew that was pure cane sugar. So we started with that, but now we're slowly moving towards moan. Okay. Cause moan it it's a little more flavorful. Yeah. It's not as vibrant. I mean, when you Tyran is spot on with the colors, you know what I'm saying? If they want, if you want the whole rainbow, Tran's got you with the flavor, we found that moan moan adds a lot more flavor. So which is just a better profile and a better perspective for our drinks. Interesting. Nice. And just from talking to you guys before, too, you've, you've both had the entrepreneurial spirit before this. So tell us a little bit where that spirit came from and what you did beforehand. Well for, for years, I worked for BB and T. I started off with desktop support there. Yeah. And just kind of got a feel for business while I was there on, on what it took to do everything. Mm-hmm, how many divisions it was, how many departments as I had to reference a lot of those because of what I did in it and had to know what everybody did. Yeah. Just so I could, you know, satisfy their need mm-hmm I just, I kept, I kept growing with the bank. I eventually did application development. Just learned more about that, how big that business was. Mm-hmm and then I got, we got we got, my son actually started making freshly squeeze lemonade. Yeah. So, so when he started doing that we kind of, we wanted to pin the name down, so that got us into. You know the avenue of how to, how to get your name for your business. What does it actually take? All the pieces it takes to to start a business. Yeah. And I guess that's where the spirit came from was actually his lemonade stand. That's really cool. It's it's called freshly squeezed. Yeah. Oh, that's awesome. Shout out. He has a Instagram too, right? Mm-hmm yeah, that's right. I thought so. Freshly squeezed ILM. Yep. It's freshly underscore squeezed, underscore ILM. So everyone listening, go give it a follow. Yeah, we he started in our neighborhood and so we just kind of like. Did it off of him in our neighborhood and kind of got like feedback from everybody there. And then, you know, one thing led to another and then also too, I was at BB and T in the mortgage department. Okay. And well I was a different department him, but I was in the mortgage department and then BB and T merged with SunTrust, which is now true is so we were part of the layoff. And so he was laid off last January. I was laid off in February. Wow. So then our son was doing the freshly squeezed, but I was also doing do littles pet concierge, which is another Instagram page and where I went and became a dog groomer, a pet CPR instructor. So I can teach other pet parents and dog groomers, pet CPR, and senior and dental care for their animals as well as pet sitting. And so we did that up until we opened up drinks. But another thing, the reason why we opened up drinks was I'm gonna try not get upset, but. He almost died on me last July 4th. Oh my goodness. He was sick and finally on July 4th, he woke up and we took him to the emergency room and thank God he tested negative for COVID and it had to do exploratory surgery on him and they had to give him an ileostomy bag. And so from us losing our job from BB and T laying us off to me doing my dog grooming business. I knew that if something happened to him or me, our two kids wouldn't have anything to fall back on. So I knew we had to go ahead with this cafe or with his business so that they would have something. And so they did the surgery. He um, we opened up, we got the keys in had the cargo in October. He had his second surgery and November had the atomy bag reversed. And then January 4th we opened up. Oh wow. And nobody even knew he was sick the whole time. And wow. And so going from being, you know, jobless to being, oh my God, to him, almost dying to the cafe, it was like we had to push forward and we had to hustle and make sure that it worked. And so by the grace of God and the love of the community, here we are, we're growing. Wow, that's incredible. So when wonder, closes another one opens, and for years we wanted to open up our cafe, but we were so instilled when you get a job, you stay in the career, you stay there and you retire mm-hmm But our fate was in someone else's hands. And so actually I knew October the fifth, the year prior, I wasn't gonna have a job. And I worked in the Wilson operations center. And so that two hours back from Wilson to Wilmington on October the fifth was the longest two hours because I knew I wasn't gonna have my job, but I still had to give it 110% until they laid me off. And so I had registered for classes at Cape fear and thank God I was able to do the dog grooming. So when they let me go in January, I was able to do the dog grooming. and then the pet CPR instructing and stuff like that. And so that's how we made ends meet until we opened up the cafe. Wow. And so we're a little mom and pop shop. Yeah. So that is an amazing story of perseverance yeah. So sorry to get all the emotion. No, no. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. But yeah, it definitely like puts into perspective. Like there's so many things out there. And so many people, I mean, this is 20, 22 and there's so many like people who are like, oh, you know, gen Z, all these kids don't care about anything. I'm like, but most of the businesses they work for don't care about them anyway. So I agree that you should take care of yourself. You need to find. what you can do to help your family. Mm-hmm help what what'll sets you up for success. If something happens to either one of us, it, you know, now our kids have something to fall back on whether they have to sell the business or work from the business. And so either way they've got something, cuz I can't see my daughter or my son doing dog grooming or pet CPR cuz that's not their thing. And they're both allergic to all animals, so oh no. Yeah. That would've been a disaster. Yeah. So you're not a good job for them. No so they like this a lot better. It, it was definitely a wake up call. Yeah. Well eating wise too, it gave, it gave us really the ability to just jump mm-hmm just jump. I, I did have another aspect that while I was sick, I, I did try to be frugal with her money so I did invest some money into stocks. Which is I don't know if y'all have heard of a little Reddit site called wall street bets. Oh yeah. Yes. I caught like the middle of that. So I happened to put a lot of our money into some of those things. Yeah. Like AMC do I bought DOE when it was nothing. Okay. And did you do game stop too? Or is that why I did game stop for a little while, but then that kind of peaked and went away. Right. So the one he bought and sold, I could choke him. well, I mean, you know, you play those cards, but right. Yeah. It, it give us the ability to, to start the business and, and not have to use loans, run to a bank and, and use a loan and stuff like that is that's a, a scary business. That's a scary part is to roll right up under some debt, you know? Yeah. So we're knock on wood, operating on operating on savings, basically. Wow. So. Yeah, that's incredible to start kind of what you started already and then have the growth that you have without having to go the loan route. Oh yeah. Yeah. That's amazing slowly but surely we've gotten there and then, you know, with the community and stuff too with us being our mom and pop shop, you know, people would tip us. And so when we first opened, we, we were like, what do we do with all these tips? Mm-hmm and so we just started something called like a tip share where we raise money for different fundraisers or make awareness of different things that, you know, you may not be aware of. And so we've given back to the community that way with our tip share program. And so like for two weeks we would, we would, we would tell people your tips are going to this, right. So for those two weeks, any tips they gave or whatever like that, we just like communities in schools or yoga villagers. Okay. Or play it forward where they take in used instruments and give to kids that wanna play music that can't afford instrument. Just different awarenesses you know, just different things or even like sports cuz our daughter plays softball. Yeah. So we've been able to give back and sponsor different teams and players and stuff like that. And so it's really cool that the community has, you know, been involved with that as well, to be able to help highlight things as well. So we kind of give back to the community that way. So I like that. It's definitely I like the perspective cuz I mean, you know that cuz you're a mom and pop, I mean you're you make the profit, but those tips cuz people love your service cuz you guys, you have a really great vibe. Like every time, like I walked in there the first time and like I always think of like that don't judge a book by its cover. Cuz like I walked into the store and, and Joe was in there and he was like, Hey and I was like, yep. I definitely wouldn't have expected you to be sitting there offering like some nice holistic like Lotus drinks. I like in my head, like, you know, everyone judges everything, but I saw this and I was like, oh, you know, he's probably like, you know, this six foot eight skinny surfer dude. Like it's good. And no, he, you just have like, obviously he doesn't look just like that. You'll find him on social media. yeah. He's short. definitely leaving on six foot. I'm I understand. I am critically challenged as well. I I'm right with you. Not everyone can be as tall as Chris Yeah, I'm sorry. but I just love that. Like, you guys have one of those personalities that kind of perseveres through pretty much everything mm-hmm and that you are investing in the community. I've heard so many. Little people who are like, oh my gosh, a cargo district is horrible. You know, they're gentrifying everything. And I'm like, y'all don't know like the stories that go into this place. Mm-hmm, like, yes, somebody's buying property and expanding, but giving opportunities to small businesses, startup businesses, and kind of like giving them the place and the opportunity. If you took more than, you know, three seconds to like make a judgment, you could see that, right. This, this is a great space for up and coming. It is cuz we've seen a lot of people go from doing market. To actually going into a cargo container to going into a building and, you know, expanding. And so that's the one good thing about this is that you're not locked in and they it's a community and everybody helps you. And when you post something for someone, they share it and then another person shares it. And then if you just constantly share, that's free social media and support mm-hmm and the community aspect of that. And so you're reaching more people because everybody's got different followers and that may peak their interest when they see it on a story, just because you're sharing it. I don't know if y'all take a peek at my story, but yes, I've got stuff that keep me busy for hours, but that's because I like to share everybody. I'll share other coffee shops, other businesses, you know, just everybody, because to me it's a community and without the community, we wouldn't be where we're at. You got that. Right. And I go through your whole entire story every day too, because there's something going on and you post it for a reason. So there's always some kind of value going through it and something going on here. And then I also run the market madness ILM page, which is where like basically you can be a tourist in your own city because people look for markets. Like when, on the first Sunday of every month we've got the crafted market. It's like a huge festival. We've got, you know, about 20 to 30 vendors, food trucks, you know, local makers and stuff. And they just come together, you know, the first Sunday. And it's so cool to be able to have that. Well, you know, they've got, 'em all over the place, all over Wilmington. So you can go down to front street, downtown castle street, like they're all over throughout the month. And so that page kind of helps highlight, you know, different local vendors and markets and stuff like that too. So see, I never heard about that. I think that was kind of cool. Like one. I'm working on the weekends cuz I work traditional retail. But it, that's kind of cool to know like it's an easy place to go versus me having like Google, Hey, what? Market's open today. Just knowing that there's a page that I can go to and be like, Hey, you know, well, nine times outta 10, because I do share so much on my Instagram page. People do come to my store or they'll message me and be like, Hey, is there a market at the, at the, where's their market at this weekend? And I'll be like, Hey girl, or Hey dude, it's that such and such or whatever. And so now this way I don't have the answer messages. It's on one page. Right? and I've got it tagged the top of my drinks page. So you can click on it and go right to it. And it's got every like market and stuff. And then if there's a new business, you know, I do a shout out, be like, Hey, new business, check out this person, blah, blah, blah. They're having a grand opening. Don't miss out and stuff like that. And so people will send me their information and I post it for 'em and so everything is up there for whatever you wanna do. Yeah, you're great at networking too. Just yeah. In general. And I saw that you recently joined port city, young professionals. Yes. I'm an ambassador for them as well. Oh. And so I try to bring people out there and just network. And if there's anything that I can do to bring to the table to help out your business, I'd like to be an asset. And then maybe you've got something that could help us out because we're new into business. And then that way we can network and that these meet and greets that we do the third Wednesday of every month at various different places in Wilmington, we just, you know, network with other people. And it's really great because, you know, there might be something out there. Let's say, if you're looking for wood or flooring or plumber, then you may find a couple of 'em out there and then you can exchange information and then go from there and build, you know, a nice rapport. And then you've got, you know, a new friend, a new business person and you know, a new reference. Right. And so, yeah, another community, I think that's one of the things that helped you guys grow so much is just. Pouring into the community like you guys do. I'm a social butterfly, sorry. we can't help that. I'm a chatty Cathy at a social butterfly. He was gonna have a naturally, regardless. Unfortunately, I just have to drag him with me. He's just like, oh God. So he sits at the bar, those things and chats with whoever wants to sit at the bar and me, I'm just boo boo floating around. Yeah. I feel like in every relationship there's yeah, there's the person who's like da, da, and then the person who's just like chill, like Adam, me and Tyler unfortunately we're both pretty chatty people, but if we're out, I'm probably gonna be sitting down being quiet. But if I'm out with my wife, she's like, where did he disappear to? like, we threw her birthday party and all of our friends showed up and she literally was like you disappeared for like 20 minutes. I was like, oh yeah. I was upstairs having a whole on conversation with like six people. And I left somebody hanging at like corn hole. And I was like, that's just my personality. I'm I'm down to throw a party, but I'm also. gonna sit back and be like, Hey, mm-hmm you can come here. Well, he jokes with me. He's like, basically I walk people to their car. Cause I'm just like chatting, like one more thing. but one more thing. And he is like, April stop sit. Often I have to pull up the, wrap it up card, you know, he'll turn on the sink or something. Start washing his hands. Right. give me the eyes. I'm like, it's okay. They gotta go. They gotta go. I'm like, no, they don't one more minute. so that's why we had to bring your, you guys on to you though. Yeah. Yeah. And it's good for podcasts. Yeah. mm-hmm and so we just want everybody to, you know, love, love coming to us and they feel like family, cuz we are a mom and pop. So we want you to feel when you come in, Hey, you know, we're gonna go hang out with mom and pop. Yeah. And so hopefully at our new location, we'll have strong wifi to where, you know, you can hang out and chat with us and be on your, we want you to feel like you stopped in at your house and then left. Yeah. I love that. Yeah. When you're talking about it before you're saying that there's going to be. A bar as well, kind of sitting up there where you guys do everything with some like bar stools and stuff. Mm-hmm so that'd be really cool too, to kind of come up with the laptop, do some work on there and sit there and talk to you guys and everything. Mm-hmm mm-hmm yep. Tyler already wants a plaque in front of one of the seats. we got you. We Tyler spot. We got it. I love it. Oh brain. I had a question. Oh, okay. Cause you guys, cause I mean, obviously the main thing is the drinks super delicious. And you said, do you guys sell like just the little baby, like take it home? We do, we do a DIY where we put the recipe in a little bottle and we give you the cup and the club soda. And basically you just go home, fill it up with. We give you the syrup, pour it in. And then you top it off with the club soda or flat water or whatever of your choice, and then drink it, stir it and drink it. How much are those cost? They are 6 99. Okay. Not bad. No. And 5 99 for our regular drinks. And they're 24 ounce. So it's a dollar more just for the convenience. Cuz we give you the cup straw, right? The Dr. The can basically everything but the ice. Yeah. And then if you wanna.it out and have a loaded Lotus, you can put a little smidge or whatever in there too. That's right. That's right. I like it. I ask this for the people like me, who aren't like constantly in the cargo district. You can show up and buy like a six pack and be good for the week and then, you know, just make it as you want. Mm-hmm well, I'm not gonna lie. We had 34 DIYs go out the door today. Oh wow. To one customer. Yeah. One customer she comes every two weeks. Oh, there you go. Every two weeks she gets 34 DIY. Oh, that's awesome. Yep. So we're not complaining on that one? No, no, not at all. Yeah, but I I'm like, I like that. Cuz like I said, I don't drink coffee. Typically if I drink anything in the morning, it's water or a tea mm-hmm depending on how much time I have when I wake up and get a workout in. But like having that availability of something that I don't have to do a full on like bang energy drink or something ridiculous. And have that crash at like 12 o'clock midday. Mm-hmm I think for those who are listening, this is a great opportunity to come check 'em out, get something. And it's, it's also just nice to have like sitting in the fridge. Yes. Well our goal eventually once we move into our new location, get settled in, we would love to can our drinks. And the first one we wanna can is our pink dragon and then our golden tourists. So we've got those two that we wanna can. And so that's next on our to-do list. So, so. What's in those, I was just about to ask. I know well, the pink dragon is our pink Lotus with our dragon fruit in that one. And then the the golden TAs is red Lotus. Yeah. It's just red Lotus. So it's our plant based version of red bull, but it's our version of it. And so we call it golden TAs instead of red bull and it is a golden yellow color too. So we can just bottle that up. Oh, that's easy. I like that. So, but we just kind, and actually Lotus is moving. They're not calling it red. They're they're gonna start calling it. Cascara okay. It kind of fits the brand a little bit better. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it's kind of hard to like with the being the cascara coffee fruit, which holds the coffee bean. It's hard to describe. Is it like, is it a coffee or is it like a tea or a refresher? Mm-hmm so that's another thing too. So we just kind of call it like a loaded, a Lotus energy drink, just so it covers all barriers of all the questions and all the column. So we just check coffee, tea refresher, all the above. Yeah. So we're in our own little category. I just go plant based energy drink. Yeah. That too. And I name all the plants. Yeah. I just point at the poster and say all that's in our drink. Yeah. All that. What was one of the things that really sticks out to you that you've learned throughout this process? Mm, a lot. yeah. I would say inventory. Yes. Oh, okay. Because with the shortage from COVID when we first started, like we knew about there was a shortage, but when we actually got into it, yeah. It was like, oh my God. Cuz we, you know, trying to get certain items, they're hard to get. Yeah. Mm-hmm and so you're having to substitute stuff out without saying, Hey, I'm having to substitute out or we don't have it because being a new business, you don't wanna start off saying, oh, well we're out of this or, oh, we can't serve that or, oh, well, so we've been able to somehow knock on wood. I need to find some, some real wood somewhere, but I've been able to keep a nice stock to where I'm almost like a distributor for Lotus and syrups around here. Cuz I've got so much in stock. I wouldn't have that problem. And so I've actually had to help out other people around me. It almost looks like a problem. yeah. Almost looked like a hoarding problem with Lotus and syrups because I I've I mean, I hate to kind of brag, but the Wilmington Manor, which is like one of the wedding venues here in Wilmington, couldn't find lavender lemon or lavender syrup anywhere. Oh, nobody had it. This girl had eight bottles and they needed how many, eight bottles? Well, I had 10 on hand, but they needed eight. I was like, got you. got you. But please remember me the next time. Right. And so, you know, I was able to help them out in a pinch cuz like nobody, nobody had it. And so I was like, yay. Do do right. I was able to save the day. So, and that's the kind of aspect I want. Cause like with blue cup the other week they were out of Irish cream or something. And I was like, Hey girl, I got you. And so, you know, I was able to, you know, spot them the Irish cream until theirs came in. And so, you know, it's definitely, you know, community over competition because I would hate for them to say, I'm sold out of something when I can say, Hey, I got you. Yeah. Right. So that's how we like to operate just to help out anybody we can cuz we've had so many people open up the door and help us mm-hmm and give us advice and you know, be like, Hey, don't do this because we've done that, you know, and they've saved us a couple footsteps and some money and stuff like that. Yeah. And headaches. Yeah. That's, that's one takeaway that I've learned from different businesses that I've done too, is don't look at the quote unquote competition as competition mm-hmm by reaching out and helping each other is one of the best ways to grow. So even when I had my DJing company in PA. Just being friends with those guys and helping each other out and spotting each other's speakers and giving away gigs when you get too busy and whatnot. Yeah. Those are the things that helped us grow exponentially more than any marketing dollar ever could. And then even Chris can tell you here, just being able to work with other people that are in the content creation world and podcasting world, the opportunities that we've had that come up from that is just incredible. So that that'd be one of my takeaways for businesses. Don't let competition be competition. Yeah. Because like today we sat down with Amy at blue cup. Yeah. So we're gonna, when we moved to our new location, which, you know, we haven't announced yet, but we're gonna do express so and match and stuff like that. And so we're. Who else are we gonna have for coffee other than blue cup? Why not keep it in the cargo? They're on one side of the cargo, we're on the other side of the cargo and they have a roastery. Yeah. Yeah. And so like, if we ever short beans, we can say, Hey Amy. And we could basically do a seven minute walk, which I'm not gonna do. I'll take my two minute drive over here or get me a little scooter. Yeah. And scoot over here and, you know, and get me more beans if I need it. And so in that way, you know, if she needs syrups or coffee, you know, we can definitely, you know, help each other out that way. So we're excited to be able to introduce blue cup. Well, I definitely, I definitely think that community over competition is the right way to go for business. Things that I've seen are like, for instance, when somebody's in our place and they want a hot coffee, we immediately send 'em over to where they can get hot coffee. I mean, because what one customer's taste is another customer's taste might not be. So when that person's over there wanting a refresher. Likewise, they point me in our direction. So that's where I see business being really successful is when we can grow off each other, because we're all, we're all trying to gain the same customer base mm-hmm so we just need to keep the same customer base happy, no matter what, right. Yeah. And then, then, and it helps both of us and helps community. And I think the cargo passport was a great idea where they were trying to get everybody come out on Wednesdays and shop at different places. And then, you know, you can get gift certificates and stuff. That was, you know, trying to be like a community thing, but it's been kind of hard to get it off the ground, I guess, because of the summer. And now school's getting ready to go back, but I hope they entertain the idea and keep on working with it. Cuz I feel like that's something the cargo could use. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like when fall comes around and it's not scorching hot, like it has been mm-hmm it'll be nicer too, cuz it. The cargo district is starting to expand so much where you're, you're walking a lot to get from one place to another. So there's no parking. Yeah. which is one of those like good and bad things. Right. I have to get you a scooter and start coming to work on where's those girls at that were here in the courtyard back in August. That the little scooters that folded up. Oh yeah. Love that. I just, they're just a little premature. Yeah. Cuz what if we had a scooter place? We could have one here and then one on the other side of the car go. Yeah. And then you could swap 'em back and forth. Yeah. Sh an idea for somebody given away businesses here. Look, they're gonna take it. They're like we got it. We are at capacity right now. So you too many things going on. Sure. You need another hustle? You sure? Yeah. Oh, I'm sure. But at your comments, like community over competition, it always makes me laugh because like I'm at the age that I grew up watching miracle on 34th street, like the remake and in my head I've been in retail for. Almost 15 years and I'm always the same way. I'm like he did the right thing and I don't understand how so, how that movie did so well that kids and adults nowadays don't realize like, if you don't have it, send them to the place that does mm-hmm like, if you like, yes, it's a movie and it's a it's, but it's a good mindset to have is cuz like if you're doing right by that person, they'll remember it and they'll try and come back and see you. Exactly, exactly. Mm-hmm but there's so many people nowadays who are like, no, no, no, I need all the money I need to. It was like, no matter what, I'm gonna leave a good taste in her mouth. Yeah. Whether it was with a drink or if I helped him out. Yeah. I love that. That's fantastic. That was so good. I'm so mad at didn't think of the right yeah. Cuz that be perfect for you're whiskey and with them they're like a tasting event. Yeah. No matter what, no matter what, hold, hold on. I'm gonna write there, right? Yeah. but yeah. So cuz we also feel like, you know, people come there for the personality as well as the product too. And so you wanna give 'em both the experience and good food as well. Yeah. And so that's what we, cuz we learned with how past jobs and experience, especially being at BB and T for so long, we saw how, you know, how we wanna treat people and, or like how we wanna be treated instead. Well, I mean, it's just being in, being in big business. I mean we saw the guys on top, were making all the cash and it's, it's discouraging. It's very discouraging and your managers are doing all they can to keep you happy. Keep the being counters, counting, but party, we just, and we we're gonna, we want to take that same mentality into our business to where, when we grow. So does everybody else, right? So, you know, at the end of the day, we want the business to strive and achieve what the business needs to, but we don't wanna leave anybody else behind that's busted their tail for us. So, right. Exactly. It's a fantastic mindset to have mm-hmm and since we're starting to get up on an hour here, you guys can take the final question together or separate whatever you may choose. All right. And I know you've listened to a few episodes, so you might know if you were to tell your younger self anything, what would it be? Oh my gosh. Do it sooner. Yeah. We should have opened up business so much sooner. Absolutely. We waited and waited because we did what, you know, we were instilled in, you know, mm-hmm is supposed, you get, you get comfortable, you have to step outta your comfort zone and it's scary. Yeah. It is very scary. Because you just, you don't know, you get so used to that check coming every week, you know, mm-hmm and I'm gonna go count my beans and my check's gonna be here and I'll go count my beans. And then you get to a point where you're like, all right, I'm gonna try this. Oftentimes people, I think keep the, keep bean counting job and try to do a business as well. And, and, and sometimes, and, and I think the comfort doesn't let them leave. Yeah. And focus solely on the business at hand so they can, so it can really grow and take off because it needs all of you. Mm-hmm Yeah. I think that's, what's so powerful about your, your all story, right? Is it, it came down to it. You had a dream, you had a goal and everything that happened to you at that moment was supposed to happen because it, it was that fire. It was that one thing that really pushed you into it. And Before the podcast we were talking about you guys going to church and stuff, and that, that's one of those stories that just feels like a God thing to me. Yeah. Where something so horrible could happen with the layoff and sickness mm-hmm and everything, and have something so great. And the, the strength of the community that came around you afterwards too. And nobody even knows until now really about, you know, his health and stuff, because, you know, we didn't wanna be weak. We wanna be able to do it. And it's just us too. We don't have, we don't pity. Yeah. We don't have family or support. It's just us. So here it is. Here we are. so, yeah, super powerful. But anyway, yeah. I'm, I'm glad that that was one of the things you brought up too, because there's so many people that they're just comfortable with where they're at. And one of the things that I started a coaching program, and one of the things that they, they harp onto the people that are average, aren't the ones that are great. Right because they're they're average and they're not willing to take that leap of faith. They're not willing to step. And and you guys did it and successfully mm-hmm too. And so now we've become everybody else's cheerleader. So like queen expertise, that lady love her to death. She hustles like nobody else's business. She does like five or six markets a week. And and so like for her, I, I just wanna be able to I'm like telling her, like, you can do this, cuz she has everything to do a tea room and all these different things. And so with our new location and stuff to kind of give her that little ooph and the little edge is we wanna have tea with queen ESER tea. Oh cool. And so who doesn't wanna have, she has an amazing product too. Yeah. She has an amazing product and I, I love her teas. In fact, we're gonna serve her teas in our store or in our cafe too nice. But we would love to, I mean, have tea with, with the queen and then so like on Sundays we can have, you know stuff set up and then have her dressed in royalty with like a little throne and stuff like that. And I'm hoping that after she does a couple of these little mommy and me little high tea, things that she'll get the courage to open up her own place and then, you know, give her that, you know, that little edge. And so cuz I know she's got it, but she just she's scared cuz she's comfortable doing markets, but I'm like, girl, mm-hmm you could be in your own little business doing your own tea, let me help you. And so we're working with her on, you know, partnering with her to try to get her in and doing that, you know, a couple times a month. And then maybe from there she can, you know, get her own little brick and mortar and have her own tea with the queen. Right. And so, but yeah, and that kind of goes back to what you were saying before too. Should have started sooner. Like I know start sooner, right? Yeah. One of the things I've always heard too is when it comes to. Children and starting a business. There's never a perfect opportunity. Mm-hmm there's never a perfect time. Just do it. Yeah. Do it. That's how we're here. Right? exactly. Just decided to go out there. Keep plan for you will continue to plan for it forever. Mm-hmm yes. Yeah. I've I've lost opportunities for that too. Just. When you sit and you wait for per perfection, you'll never have perfection because it doesn't exist. Right. Mm-hmm that's right. And then it's another way to kick the can down the road a little bit further. It's another excuse. Well, it's not perfect yet, so I'm not gonna do it yet. It's not perfect yet. We're not gonna do it yet. Well, and another excuse we had was we wanted to wait for our daughter to get out of high school and get into college cuz she was doing travel softball. And we knew if we had a business too, we wouldn't be able to have our weekends in the, you know, it would, it normally takes two years to get a business off the ground and up and running and making profit. And so that was another hold up too. Well, she graduated last year in may and then he got sick in July and then, you know, I was like, oh, well we're gonna do this anyway. So she, you know, we had a lot going on last year. We definitely got shaken up. Huh? Yes. But we fell out. Alright. I think, yeah. It seems like it yeah. yep. What's amazing to think of that. I was just thinking of, now that it hasn't even been a full year that you guys have been open or that we've been doing this, but it feels like we've been doing it for so long. It does. It does. Yeah. Feels like ages. I'm ready to retire. yeah. I was like, when I was saying, you know, when we first started, we did a couple, I was like, that was the beginning of this year. Yeah. Like it legitimately in my head. I was, cause when we talked to you guys, I was like, oh yeah, they've been open for like, at least a year. And I was like, now it's only been like a month, a month and half. Yeah. Yeah. But y'all are rolling. But I, I do want to say thank you guys for coming on. Yes. Thank you for, well, thank you for inviting us. We appreciate absolutely. Yeah. And thanks for coming off, especially such late notice and stuff. So that was fantastic. Of course. Thank you. So my question is what, where can people find you guys on the inner web? Social medias and all that. Well, right now we're only operating with Instagram. Okay. We have a Facebook page too, but our Instagram's where to go. Yeah. Yeah. That's how we are. Yeah. Yeah. So it's drinks dot ILM on Instagram is where you can find us. And then and also in the cargo district. So either way yeah, thanks. Feel free to stop by in person and say hi. Yeah. Yes. Try, try by and see us. Try Lotus. Try to sell you bowl. Or we've got 40 below Joe. Oh, like you need to try that. Thank I dipping dots for adults. Yeah. Ooh, expresso dipping dots. Mm-hmm yeah. So you can either have 'em in the dipping dots, style cold, like ice cream, or you can heat 'em up in your cup with some warm, with some water and have it hot. Oh, I didn't know. So you can have it either way. Just fresh. Yeah. Fresh expresso. Yeah, because it's cryogenically frozen, like immediately. Ah, I see. So when you melt it back, it's like, you just, just brewed it and it's oh, wow. Either almond based or coconut based, depending on which 40 below Joe cup, you choose. We've got six different flavors of house blend, French vanilla, vanilla, hazelnut caramel, something another, I don't know. Six flavors salted caramel salted caramel. I do the French vanilla. Whew. So good. That does sound good too. yeah, I'm gonna have to try that sooner then later I keep, I keep coming in to get a drink and I'm like, oh, I need to do that sometime too. That looks so good. Right. Well, we can't go wrong. Second question. So cuz obviously we're, we're spilling the beans cuz you're we're a little bit early. When are you officially announcing you're upgrade? Well, we we've, we've been telling people that we're we're upgrading yeah, well we're supposed to be in it by the end of September. Okay. Yeah. So hope. Well right now yeah, by the end of September, but if it we're in there before then. We'll all be surprised, but don't you worry? I'm gonna put it on social media. as soon as I, as soon as I get the keys, I promise nobody will miss a thing. Nope. y'all know me. Not at all. I'm having a little flappy man out there with drinks on it, everything. Oh, nice. so keep an eye out for the, for the upgrade. Mm-hmm to the location until then check 'em out in the alleyway on the cargo district. If you don't know where the alleyway is find the barbershop and just go around the corner. Mm-hmm and there's signs now. Oh yeah. There's a, there's a cargo district mural that says shops this way. See down the alleyway and then we've got our music thumping and bumping. So we've tried to make the alley is inviting as possible. Yes. Cause I think it's distilled in people. Don't go down the alley, go down the alley. But our alleyway's so pretty. It is, it really is like, and there's Olio down there now. Exactly. I tried to get Kelly to come on, but she won't. So if you wanna, oh, good luck. She's very shy. I, Kelly is your turn, right? Zoey, her sister. So it's a Zoey Kelly duo. That's your ticket? I, Zoe, I tried to get both of them on the same time, but I was like, all right, I'm going after Zoe next then. Cuz they, they have a great story too. Oh yeah. Oh, I like to hear it, their story. Oh, love it. But like I said, thank you guys for hopping on with us on such short notice, but also just being great people to chat with. Oh, thank you. Thank you for all the fun listeners. I mean we've actually done a really great month. Yeah. For us and we just wanna thank you guys all for the support and just keep it coming. Keep all the listens. Like we always say. Leave us alike on all the social medias and five, five star review on Spotify, apple podcast. And if you don't have a nice review, don't say anything at all. Cuz you know, that's what my mom always told me. That's right. If you ain't got nothing nice to say, don't say it. Yep. Facts. And like Joey said, you know, we, no matter what, want to leave a good taste in your mouth. So either check out drinks for a great drink or we wanna leave you with a thirst to come back and listen to us next week. So cheers. Cheers. Cheers.