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Summer Lovin'

A former lifeguard keeps cool with his frozen beverage franchise.

Douglas Smith, a full-time lifeguard, had never considered owning his own business until his friend, Matthew Farruggio, asked him if he was interested in becoming a franchisee. Farruggio's company, California Quivers, sells frozen fruit beverages called Quivers as well as other snacks like funnel cakes and pretzels. Smith had watched Farruggio's business grow from its start in 1997, so in April 2006, Smith and friend Nick Lehman, 27, became the company's first franchisees.

Thus far, business ownership has been a great learning experience for Smith, 32. The first thing he learned was the importance of a good location. He focused on getting his cart into an outlet mall in Carlsbad, California, for the summer. "You have to be pretty persistent to get your product in anywhere," says Smith. "You actually have to go out and attack to get the business. I just kept going [back] and they took a chance on us." It paid off, grossing the pair about $75,000 in three months.

After summer's end, Smith takes his California Quivers cart to street fairs, festivals and even high school football games. "Every weekend's a new adventure," Smith says. "Every time we go out and work it's fun."

With his first year as a California Quivers franchisee under his belt, Smith is ready to grow. He is currently looking into buying a second cart and is already considering all the possible locations for it, from shopping centers to piers.

This story appears in the May 2007 issue of Startups. Subscribe »