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The Lush Life

This trendy beverage boutique attracts the youth market in droves.
December 1, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/170452

Vital Stats>> Jeffery Adler, 38, of Dlush in San Diego

Company>> Cross-category beverage joint that targets the 14 to 24 year-old consumer market

Projected 2006 Sales>> More than $800,000 for the first location.

All Shook Up>> For four years, Jeffery Adler helped foreign retail executives Americanize their operations, but he says that in 1999, he got tired of "making fat cats fatter" and decided to launch his own business. His idea was a beverage joint that would capture the synergy between juice, shakes, coffee and tea and cater directly to what he calls the "iPod-listening, Nordstrom-wearing, MAC cosmetics kind of gal"--a strategy crafted to attract females and, consequently, males. But it wasn't until Adler left his home in Washington, DC, and headed west in search of a hotter climate and an affluent community that the shaky concept began to solidify, and Dlush was born in 2001.

Ready to serve>> Adler's dream has since developed into a full-blown reality: a 531-square-foot, 360-degree circular store that pulsates with music, energy and cocktail-style drinks served by an attractive staff that has completed a six- to eight-week training "boot camp" to learn the choreographed moves, recipes and attitude. Adler calls it "MTV in a glass" or "Starbucks on Viagra." In the world of Dlush, seduction is the secret ingredient. "I wanted to make this place about lifestyle, about people," says Adler. "I wanted to make it hip, provocative, razor-edge hip, like bleeding edge. Like [if] you touch the store [your] blood would run . . . that kind of cool."

Overflowing>> Adler's not sitting tight. He has already expanded into apparel and is experimenting with other markets, including music. Two additional Southern California locations opened this year, and by the end of 2007, Adler plans to expand to Las Vegas; Phoenix; Scottsdale, Arizona; Bangkok; and Dubai. Says Adler, "My only professional mission in life is to take this concept from San Diego to Shanghai."