Maui Wowi

Cool profits could be just a smoothie away.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2002 . Subscribe »

California native Jill Summerhays grew up on smoothies, a frozen fruit drink her health-food-conscious mother introduced to her. But when Summerhays moved to Utah for college, she had to say goodbye to not only the California sunshine, but also the smoothies she loved so much. "There was nothing like that [in Utah]," she says. "Your only choices were soda and milkshakes, so I started tinkering with a recipe."

In 1983, Summerhays married husband Jeff, and the two made their first smoothie together on their honeymoon. Starting a full-time business was far from the minds of the newlyweds; Jeff was working at his family's chain of restaurants, and Jill wanted only part-time work. But she knew her smoothies would be a success, so she and Jeff started working at weekend special events, such as the 1983 Utah State Fair, giving out free samples to introduce people to their drinks. "We pretty much had to educate them on what these drinks were," says Jill.

The popularity of the smoothies grew, and the couple began working events every weekend in the summer. Jeff decided to leave his family's business and dedicate his full attention to the smoothie enterprise, which they named Maui Wowi. The Summerhayses continue to operate Maui Wowi in the state of Utah but turned over control of the corporate organization, including franchising, to Michael Haith, who moved the company's base of operations to Littleton, Colorado.

Today, Maui Wowi has franchisees selling smoothies from carts at shopping centers, arenas and various special events nationwide. Many of these franchisees are coming to Maui Wowi for the same reason Summerhays did: flexibility. "If they want this to be a small business, they can have it be a part-time, weekend-only operation," she says. "If they want it to be a full-time business, they can do that as well--they can build it into a huge operation with many kiosks."

More from Entrepreneur

Are paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

It Started As a Joke and Turned Into a Startup That Raised $1 Million in Funding