The student-run Oasis Smoothie Bar in COBA began business this semester with its own brick-and-mortar location in the College of Business Administration (COBA) room 114.
The CEOs are Mackenzie Zody, senior marketing and management major from Denver, and Laura Kate Masters, sophomore business management major from Dripping Springs.
Both CEOs bring something different to the table; Zody with her strategic planning skills, and Masters with her prior work experience in the food service industry.
Masters was initially approached by Jim Litton, director of the Griggs Center, about his idea for the space.
Thus, Oasis Smoothie Bar was born.
“It couldn’t have happened without the Griggs Center because they provided the funding for us to start it, which is huge,” Masters said. “Every penny we spend, we pay back.”
On weekdays, Oasis serves smoothies like the Very Berry and the Go Go Green, as well as acai bowls. As for the ingredients, Oasis only uses whole foods. The kitchen is nut and gluten free and offers dairy free options.
While waiting for their smoothie, customers can also browse merchandise from Purple Outfitters and other small businesses that are a part of COBA’s Founders Club.
“It’s an oasis for students to go to and also for them to learn about entrepreneurship and other student-run businesses on campus,” Zody said.
The small-business market helps the buisnesses get connected and begin building a larger network.
“We wanted to give that support to just get their brands out there to the student body,” Zody said.
Both CEOs hope to host more events in their storefront and raise awareness about their business in general. Zody said that their location has been a struggle since not every student has a class in COBA. Regardless of this obstacle, Zody and Masters worked with the Griggs Center to put up signs around campus to direct students to Oasis.
“We want to encourage the students to reach out and come in. We want to hear from them because they’re really important to us,” Masters said.
Just one example of what COBA offers student entrepreneurs, Oasis serves as an example of just how plausible it is for students to start a business through the support of COBA’s faculty and staff.
“How I would describe the entrepreneurial spirit at ACU is fierce,” Zody said. “There’s a lot of students feeling like they can start a business, so they are. The entrepreneurship community here is fantastic.”
Many student-run ACU businesses get their start in the Foundations Entrepreneurship class. In this course, students are required to pitch a small business idea.
From there, groups are formed around the strongest pitches and the businesses are developed from an idea to a finished product or service offered to the student body by the end of the semester.
This semester, there are 43 of these “Venture Out” businesses.
Sarah Trahan a sophomore advertising and public relations major from Rockwall successfully pitched her idea and her small business is in its early stages of development.
“The Griggs Center, my TA and my learning in COBA have all offered me lots of advice and resources for the best chance of my business having success,” Trahan said. “I truly believe the teaching is more than contributing to my abilities in my future career endeavors as well.”
After this course, students can continue their Venture Out business or pursue other ideas.
No matter their journey, students can find support through the Griggs Center – whether that’s through funding, expert advice or support from other students, like Lexi Hotchkin, sophomore business marketing major from San Antonio, who serves as the Griggs Center marketing director.
“We do a lot of the entrepreneurship and philanthropy on campus,” Hotchkin said. “We promote entrepreneurial spirit with our students and we kind of help back them and give them resources to continue what they’re doing.”
To learn more about Oasis Smoothie Bar and other student-run businesses, follow @oasis.smoothiebar and @acu_coba on Instagram.
Additionally, at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 14. in the Campus Center, Oasis will offer 50 free smoothie samples on a first-come-first-serve basis.