Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 20 · 2 years ago

20: How to Start a Small Business with Amir Mostafavi

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

South Block founder Amir Mostafavi shares his tips for starting and running a successful business, plus the power of community and his favorite works of art.

Welcome to good people, cool things, the podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. I'm your host, Joey held, and today's guest is a mere most of five, founder of south block juice bar and a mirror has been in the juice game for close to two decades now, obviously learning a lot along the way, and he's going to talk all about what it takes to run a small business, including some of the tips that he has learned along the way, the mission of South Block, the four core values that the company has, and it's all fantastic stuff. A mirror is so good about building a community and really getting to know the area that he's in. Some lots of good stuff going on there. If you'd like to get in touch with the show, you can reach out a number of different ways, either via email at Joey at good people, cool thingscom or on facebook or twitter, both at GPCT podcast. Love here and from you. So come on our give a little shout, say hello. For now here's the conversation with a mirror. Can you give us the scoop? Or I guess in this case it would maybe be more of a press on on South Block. South block is is a juice bar in the DC Virginia area that I started, officially started South Block in two thousand and eleven and in Arlington Virginia, but a bet in the juice business, the juice smoothie, asay e bowl business, since two thousand and four. So it spent about sixteen years that I've been in this, in this game, and it's been it's been definitely a fun ride and an evolution of multiple different things and you know, I thought I'd seen everything until coronavirus, itist and and now. But you know, it's in small business I've learned to expect the unexpected and that's one of the things that's exciting about it as well. So, you know, I kind of look at this as as I wake up every day and and have no expectations and am ready for anything. So that having that mindset kind of helped us through this. But yeah, I think that's a good mindset to have in general, but especially in a time like this. And I do want to touch on what South Park is is doing for coronavirus relief and during all this, because y'all are doing a lot of great stuff. So can you talk a little bit about that. Sure, yeah. So fast forward to today. We have ten locations in the DMB area and, you know, a big part of who we are is our connection to our community. You know, as I mentioned, I've been in this business since two thousand and four and a little little background on why I started the business initially. was really for a lot of selfish reasons, I think you know it was. I had a corporate job that I didn't love and I couldn't see myself doing it my whole life. And my dad was a small business owner and professor before that and you know, growing up I thought having a small business was the last thing I wanted to do until I realized I realized that my dad wasn't so crazy by working so much because he was passionate about what he did. So I started realizing, you know, as I got into the into the corporate world, that passion was a big deal in your in what you're doing every day. So when I first started my business, I wanted to start a I'd never been in food service before and I was attracted to the world of juice's smoothies because I love the product and Bending Southern California a few times and just loved not only the product but the vibe that I got from going into these places and we had nothing like that in the DC area. So I thought, well, let's bring that to the DC area and bring a little bit of southern California vibe and some flavor, and it was really something that brought me happiness and joy and you know, I quickly, I quickly learned. You know, I say that my first three years in business was my phd was my it was where I really learned a business. I never been in food service before except for two weeks in the sandwich shop at when I was in college and I quit after two weeks because my manager was a jerk and and and I quit because, you know, like many people in food service, you have choices in where you can work and and I said, well, I'm not going to spend my time working for this, for this jerk. So the only thing I knew...

...is if you treat your employees like a jerk, then they'll quit. So I don't know. That lesson has been kind of our number one rule as managers since day one and it's a simple rule but it's very important and it's one that a lot of people don't follow. And so it's simple, simple, as you know. Just make people feel awesome, treat them, treat them with respect and, you know, provide a great place for people to work, and a lot of that is just by not being a jerk to them. So I've held on to that rule since day one and I and I made a commitment to not let the business or the industry change me or to not surround myself with people that that have a different approach and in management. So that that that one thing that I learned in those two weeks really really helped out along the way. But as time W on, you know, like I said in the beginning was it was really to find a passion and purpose for myself. I started getting bored with that even after the first couple of years and I started realizing that this, this cannot be just about myself. It has to be about the people that are around my company, the people that work for my for me, the people that come in every day, are guests that come in and buy stuff from us, and the community around us, the other businesses that are around us and our neighbors. And what kind of connection can we have with with all of the people around our business, and so I decided early on that our mission was to make people feel awesome. So no matter what we were doing, the goal was to make people feel awesome. So that's translated through our product, through the experience you have when you come in, through the messaging on our tshirts and our hats. They all try to have a positive message that, when you read it, it makes you feel awesome, it says you rock, believe in yourself, you know, and it's just it's just messages that are directed to the person who's reading or experiencing what we have to offer to hopefully make them feel feel, feel better about themselves and accomplish their goal when visiting us, to feel to feel to feel awesome, and then, whether that's through the food you're eating or through the Messenger you're reading or or the experience you're having, that's our goal. So, you know, having that kind of ingrained in our culture and our values since since the early days, really was our guiding force when the coronavirus hit and we saw it as like, you know, this is business as usual. What do we do now to continue to support our employees, our customers and our community to make them feel awesome, because it's a tough time for a lot of people. So, you know, are what are we going to do now? And the simple answer was we're going to stick to our core values. And I think businesses that have a mission and values that they can stick to in in good times, that's great, but especially in bad times, what are you going to do? What choices are you going to make? And if and that's why I tell entrepreneurs it's so important to have a defined mission and core values and to really think about it and put something in place that is for your employees and for your guests. For us, we printed on skateboards and we posted in our stores for everyone to see. These are our core values. And you know, when we when we we're hit with these these obstacles of of what do we do for for regarding the corona of virus, you know, it was it was just back to our mission of making people feel awesome and and who are we as a company? And let's and we saw it as an opportunity just to to continue living that out and to show people kind of that this is who we really are. So I guess, more specifically, what some of the things we've done in the community is we've been. Our mission has been to get fruits and vegetables to people in need. So we've been doing a lot of different things to work with food pantries and work with county school school systems to get kids on free and reduced meal programs fruits and vegetables, just to get families and kids in need fruits and vegetables. And then we've also been supporting our healthcare workers with getting them juices and fruits and vegetables. And really the mission is to, you know, again, make people...

...feel awesome, provide them with hope and opportunity and to get them healthy fruits and vegetables to keep people because now more than ever, getting fruits and vegetables, getting getting healthy foods into your system is more important than ever to keep your immune system up. So that's really been our our mission through all of this is to give people access to that. That's awesome and I think that has been a really interesting thing to see during all of this, is that sense of community that's coming out of small businesses and supporting local and it's really kind of being a two way street. I don't know what the latest out in the DC area is but here in Texas they well, Austin is kind of the opposite of what the rest of Texas is doing. But the steak can officially open up restaurants to about half capacity right now and you know, a lot of restaurants are kind of like like no, we're not going to put the health of everyone at at risk and you know, we'll still offer curbside and delivering all that, but just the the amount of support going both ways. I think it's been really cool to see and I think it does go back to what you were saying about you have a good mission and you stick to it, people are going to support you, especially when things are not at their peak like they are now right. Yeah, and you you make a really good point like the support has been full circle, you know, from the community and the guests and the employees that work at small businesses and small businesses. I think there's definitely like a cycle of support that is really awesome to see and, you know, I think that is that is why that connection with people is so important, no matter what business you're in, no matter who you are, it's that it's that connection of people and how do you connect with them, and you know that was part of the challenge to through this is like now everything is virtual. So how do we connect with how do we get our message out there? How do we get our voice out there? How do we communicate with our customers what's going on in our business? So it's definitely a lot more of a virtual experience than in the past, where we used to do a lot of like in face events where we partner with a lot of our fitness community businesses and and we'd be at events, you know these. So those have gone away. So you know, how do we how do we virtually stay connected with the community? So, you know, I think that's been that's been one of the pis pivots that everyone's had to make. But I think what we've seen is, you know, you can still have connection with with the community, whether it's in person or virtually, and you know, like you, like you mentioned, you've really seen a lot of support all around. That has been awesome to see because it really really does show people in businesses true colors when they have to face the adversity like this. So absolutely and some really creative ways to that I've been saying of how people are engaging with their communities. I do have to ask, since you mentioned that, Y'all's mission is on skateboard decks. Are you a skater yourself or is it just a good canvas to include stuff? Yeah, so that's, you know, part of my, what's sixteen years now of history in the business, like I would so I used to skate when I was a kid. You know, I'm forty four now. When I got into the business, when I started, what I was twenty seven, somewhere around there, but when I was younger I used to skate and so, you know, as I was building the business and trying to do things that really just made me feel good, I was doing events and and sampling the product a lot and I had to have a sign to bring with me and I found this place that did custom skateboards, and so I put my logo on one and brought it with me two events. And you immediately when you see a logo on a Skateboard, you know what this place is all about. You get a certain vibe, you know. So so you know, because I think it represents a certain certain culture and certain attitude. So as we started growing, I said the stores that we opened I would put our logo on a skateboard and and and we screw that onto the counter or on the wall somewhere. And then, as as we kind of further defined our core values, I said, okay, well, now that we have our core values like really defined, I want to post this proudly for everyone to see, not only for our for our our...

...employees, in our handbook, but for our customers as well. So I thought what better way to post it than on a skateboard, because again, that kind of just really I think when you see it it kind of tells you a little bit about who we are. So our core values, by the way, case you're wondering, are so our top core value is believe in yourself. So we really like we really try to remind people that it starts with you and you have to believe in yourself and your own unique abilities are second value. We have four core values, right. The second one is spread good vibes, so make meeting meaningful connections and make people feel awesome. Third core value is small acts have big impacts. So we really believe that little things that you do every day can end up making a big difference, and that's really been that third one. There is really been a big thing for us during how we handle this coronavirus like it is really like you're seeing like lots of small things that people are doing within their business, within their community, is is really making a big difference. And then the last one is we are one block. So we celebrate what makes us all different, but recognized together. Where one community. So you can see like all four of those core values. You know, they when we were asked what, how do we handle any challenges were faced with? We just refer back to our our core values that are printed on our skateboard, deck and store. So it's kind of it's that's why I really think like it. You have to have meaningful core values and it's just when something bad happens, when you challenge, when challenges arise, your core values become more meaningful than ever. So that's that, you know, that's all we use this to to to guide our decisions, every decision that we make. I just think it's so important that, as a business, you have those kind of guiding principles. Yeah, that's fantastic all around. I don't know why, but I just randomly got the urge to play Tony Hawks pro skater last night, and so when I when I saw, when I was, you know, checking out the the site and everything and seeing those skateboard that was like seems seems apropos right now. So yeah, yeah, now they're rereleasing pro skater one and two in the fall, so it might be making some somewhat of a comeback there. I don't know. Yeah, it was. I cannot remember the last time I played it, but it was just like old times, like I was definitely a little rustier on some of the landings, but, you know, still well, still had all the controls memorized. Yeah, it's great. It's easier than real life. Yeah, Oh, for sure. I to state. Yeah, that game ruined my appreciation for actual skateboard tricks, I think, because it's just like, oh, this person's only doing like a three hundred and sixty off of rail. That's too right, too reasons like no, that's actually very difficult. Right, good deal. Okay, so we're going to go a little bit back to your to your initial back to two thousand and four. It's like the last dance. We're just jump in between years here, if you were watching it and of course, back when you're your first opening up. First of all, did your dad offer any any kind of wisdom or guidance as you were getting going, or was he like, nope, you're learning this all on your own? So my when I first opened in two thousand and four my dad was actually my partner. Oh Nice, so he was. He was in the video rental business for twenty years. We owned local video stores and of course, you know that business went away as kind of Netflix took over. But you know, good, good part of my childhood and high school years were spent working in the video store and even during college during breaks, I'd come back and work in the video store. And so I saw, you know, I saw a lot of the inspiration I drew from my dad. I don't think I I realized it at the time, but then looking back, you see kind of where you draw inspiration. And I think about his story. He came he came to this country at nineteen years old from Iran not knowing any English and taught himself English really through watching like Western movies and eventually would get his PhD and become a professor and business and marketing and then start his own businesses and was in the video rental business for twenty years. So there...

...was a period of time after he had gotten married to my mom. They met in Chicago during Universe, during their time university, and they got married, had three kids and moved back to Iran. Well, move to iron had three kids and came back to this country on a paid, paid stipend for for him to get his PhD at Kent State University, and he was getting paid through the university he was working at in Uran, Carman University. They were covering his cost of living and his cost for schooling to get his PhD. This is in the late s and the revolution, war started broke out in Iran and so all of his funding was was pulled. So here he is in the United States with three kids, actually four kids now, and and all of his all of his funding and education expenses that were being covered were now pulled from him. So we there was a short period of time in my childhood will we grew up on food stamps and thrift clothes and just did whatever we could to to to keep things going. So, you know, I saw him go from from from from having, you know, a modest living to losing everything, to fighting his way back up to still getting his PhD paying for it. You know, himself getting his PhD and then start becoming a professor and starting his own business. So through that experience of kind of living that my childhood and seeing my dad like go from from nothing to to PhD and having his own businesses, it kind of really taught me that that you know few if you stick if you stick with it and you put your mind to something, you can, you can make it happen, doesn't matter what kind of challenges your faced with. Just don't give up and there's there's always a solution and always a way. So I think that's ingrained in me too. kind of I have this I don't know, you might call it stubbornness to not give up no matter what. I think that's what's helped me, what's helped me build the business and get through tough times. And so, yeah, the beginning my dad didn't have his video stores anymore and I wanted to start this juice bar. So he didn't he didn't have anything to do with the operations, but I kind of ran the whole thing and then after three, three years, I had the opportunity to relocate the first juice bar we had, which was off campus at ggw University to move it on campus at Gw University, and it was at that point that we made the decision to the first location we had was really challenging and it was only like lunch business Monday through Friday, but our rent was high and we had too big of a location. So it was a big learning experience as well. So I learned a lot from from that experience. And then after I had the opportunity to relocate on campus, that's when I kind of went on my own and my dad was was kind of semi retired. He's my dad's never he's he now has a restaurant. He has a Persian restaurant called Rose Kebab, and so he's, you know, it is mid s and still working every day and he's I don't think retirement is like a in his vocabulary. So he's still working. But I went on my own after we relocated the the juice bar on campus at Gw and that was when things really turned for me, where I took a concept that we had started three years before and really kind of learned a lot of the INS and outs, and that's when I kind of reinvented the concept thatt GW. It was called campus fresh at the time. It's in the gym on campus at Gw University. It's still there fourteen years later and now it's south block, of course. But when I started, when I relocated and moved there at two thousand and six, was called campus fresh and that was really when I started really learning about impact on community, because we started doing a lot of things with...

...student organizations and and the student body to really be involved on campus and in student life and activity, where I started seeing, like hey, connection with people and community really is what makes businesses special and really where you can have a big impact. So when I opened my first location, my when I when I evolved the business and opened South Block as the brand south block that that exists today in two thousand and eleven, I kind of just used all of that to create that connection with the community in Arlington and and really reach out to other businesses and people in the community. And it, you know, wasn't an overnight success, and I think that's an important thing too for a lot of businesses to understand. Is like you got to believe. You believe in what you're doing, believe in your product, believe in your mission and your values, and then realize that you know it's not going to it's not going to necessarily connect with with the people overnight. You got to work at it and stick with it and stick with what you truly believe and then you'll start seeing things shift and it for us it took a good year really going into that second year, two thousand and thirteen, where we started seeing a real shift. And you know, so take some time to introduce who you are and who were pro what your product is and what your values of your company are and who what you're really about, and make that you get it's not easy. You can't make a connection. You got to build trust with with your with your community, and building trust doesn't happen overnight. I think that that is why it's so hard to have what people call overnight success, because success, I think, really is a direct correlation to the trust that you have with the people around your your business, and it takes a little while to build that trust. I think a lot of times too, with the overnight success stories, is there still there's still a lot going into that up until that point, like it's very unlikely, unless maybe you're winning the lottery or a new car on the price is right that you're going from like hey, I put almost no effort into this and then now I now I have a lot like it's it's right. Definitely something. A lot goes on behind the scenes too, and I think that segues nicely into my question. My next question, that you've been doing this for coming up on two decades now and you've kind of touched on this a little bit, but what's something surprising about running a business that you did not expect? HMM, I mean, I'm not I'm not surprised really by by any thing I've been. I've been the kind of business operator that has kind of had that mindset of like, no matter what's thrown at us, we're going to figure we're going to figure it out somehow. We're very much solution minded and you know, I think, I think you know, you can ask my my team. Now we have a hundred and fifty people that work for the company and I have a support team around me of seven people and anytime there's a challenge, you know I probably annoy them with okay, why did that happen? You know, whenever there's a problem, it's like, let's not just put a bandaid on it. Let's figure out why that happened and figure out if there's a better way and a solution that can prevent that problem from happening in the future. So, you know, I think ingraining that mindset in myself and the people around us is really helped this space face challenges along the way. And I think this coronavirus is just like a extreme example of like expect the unexpected in business and in life. But you know, it also, I think, is a an example of that with no matter what life or business throws at you, there's opportunities and it's funny, I made a speech at our holiday party this last year and the theme of the speech was hope and opportunity and a lot of that. Again, I draw from my dad and I give this example of even if you have nothing and and you think you think you're down, down and out on your luck and you have bad luck and whatever it is there you don't have any money. Like you don't need money to have hope. You don't need money to have opportunities and sometimes you...

...just have to look through the weeds to see the that hope and opportunity. So you know, our mission at soulf block is to is to provide hope and opportunity to people, and I think one thing people need to realize, though, is like just having hope and given opportunities alone isn't enough. Once you have those opportunities and you see what those opportunities are, it's up to you to make something of it. It's up to you to put in the work to make something of your opportunities. But there's plenty of opportunities out there and there's always hope. So you know, as we've been approaching our challenges with the coronavirus, were saying, okay, what are our opportunities here? And you know, we just started, we started experimenting with Home Home Smoothie Kits, smoothie bowl kits, with with our ASI e bowls. So we started making a six pack of US I eat smoothie kits. That were they that you can order online and we deliver contact delivery to your homes. And now we're experimenting with shipping these nationwide, which we plan to test in June in a small capacity. We're going to start shipping sae bulb kits overnight on dry ice across the country. So this is this is an opportunity that we're really excited about because we never even thought about doing this before, but since we were faced with challenges from the coronavirus, we start forced us to start thinking of solutions. And I think out of out of out of problems, out of out of crisis, is there are born opportunities and you just got it. You just got to be willing to look for those opportunities and then and then pursue them. So, you know, we feel like, Hey, you knows, as much as this is been challenging and as hard as has been for us and so many people, we're trying to look at like, okay, what are some of the good things that can come out of this? What are some of the lessons and what are some of the opportunities and what hope do we have for the future? And you know, I really think that that as we evolved, you know, maybe we're going to have a new business out of out of home home, a sae kits, that didn't exist before. You know, I think it's also like been a great opportunity for people to reconnect with themselves and their family and their community and like figure out what's really important in life and in business. So, you know, I think it's all about perspective and attitude. You know, sometimes you got to go through some challenges and some difficult times to get stronger and to come out on the other side better than you were before. So that's really where our focus is. You know, how do we turn this, this crisis, and turn it around into something positive and too, something meaningful and and to something that can provide more hope and opportunities for South Block in the people around south blocks as we continue to move forward? Awesome. That's yeah, that's such a good message. Of that you do always have hope and obviously we are going through, not to quote every TV commercial, but hard times, these unpressed in the times, and it's just it is good to have something to hold onto like that and that'll help guide everyone through. Yeah, I think that's those are the two things that you can always hold onto his hope and opportunity. And as long as you hold onto Thatt you're going to be fine. Absolutely, and we're going to take a little bit of a turn here. Okay, ardent listeners, art it's not the right word, just regular listeners off this podcast know that I always like to wrap up with a top three and I know, prior to starting to getting in the juice business, you worked as a graphic designer, as I correct, that's right. Yeah, so let's it. Oh, sorry, ahead I was going to say. And one thing I didn't expect was how valuable being a graphic designer would be in in business. And you know, it's been fun like that. That was one of the things that I've used business for is really a creative outlet, and that was one of the frustrating things that about being a graphic designer of the corporate world is is I didn't, I wasn't fulfilling my need for creative outlet and having your own business, there's so many opportunities to for creative outlet, not only in like design and marketing, but also in product development and you know, just, I think, just just having fun with it, you know, and doing things that you like and hope. And my thing even with recipes, like I came up with...

...every recipe that we offer all the SMOOTHIES, say. E. Bowls, juices, and I had no experience in in culinary world, but I had felt like I knew what I liked and I and I just thought, if I like it, I hope other people like it and luckily, lucky enough, luckily enough, they did. I had this like weird ability to come up with flavors and recipes in my mind that I would go into the kitchen the next day and put in a blender and and it would work. So I didn't even know I had that ability to do that until I got into the juice business. And you know, Asi ebols have been a thing for me for we were a lot of people don't know this, we were the first company on the East Coast to import Asie and that was because the year the year I opened my my first juice bar, the following year, a guy came into my juice far from San Diego. He was just surfer dude that you just came in and he said Hey, can I make you something? This is going to blow your mind. I said all right, so he jumped behind the counter made me an ASA EBOL. I'd never heard of it before. I didn't even know what, I say you was, but I tasted it and it was. It was like life changing for me. I said, this is the greatest thing I've ever had in my life. But the heck is this stuff and how do I get it? So because I loved it so much I started importing US IE and put it on my menu. We had one bowl on the menu and nobody cared, but but I loved it. It was like my favorite food and for fifteen years I have not lost interest in it. I just stuck with it and I kept telling people about it and then few years back I made the decision to make half of my menu a SI ebols and came up with all these recipes and now it's more than half of our our sales and it's like kind of what we're known for. But you know, it's started because it started with because I I personally loved it and wanted to share it with people. And you know, fifteen years later we're looking at starting a nationwide a Sye bowl kit shipping business. So you never know, like just you got to be whatever business you're in, it's got to be something that you personally love, as I think it's hard to fake passion. But anyway, you can see sometimes I go off one on different stories. But yes, I was a graphic designer and I still am. I still consider myself to graphic design awesome, awesome, yeah, that I was. I was wondering what kind of affects your your background in graphic design had in business and it sounds like quite a significant one. So I think that'll be very nice. Then for our top three of your favorite this this is going to be like a real broad scope thing, but your top three favorite works of art. So it could either be something that you've personally done or something you've seen where you were like that was fantastic, anything like that. HMM. Okay, wow, that's hard. So, you know, one of the things I've done as I've built the business is really try to incorporate art into our business and, like I said, a lot of that is because it's something I'm passionate about. It's something I love and one of the cool things I've seen over the years as we've been growing the business is, I don't know how it is where you are in Texas, but here you see a lot of local artists and murals popping up, for sure. Yeah, around the city. Yeah, so that wasn't something that you really saw when I first started in two thousand and four, two thousand and five, but over the last few years, you know, you started seeing this real push for local artists and local art on walls and I thought that was it's really awesome. So as I was building my opening new stores, or the first store I did, we put up wallpaper, this really colorful, awesome wall paper. It was cool, but it also wasn't original. So I started making connections with some local artists in the area and the next door we opened, I commissioned two of the artists to paint a mural for us because I thought, Hey, when you're opening a store, you have all these walls that are canvases and why not have a local artist paint the wall for you? So I met to local artists. Mos Pause is on Instagrammaspaz, MOS pause, more peace and Shit and miss love, and they collaborate together and they they did. They've done a...

...mural in each one of my stores since then. So and I just like when you walk into to to one of the south one of our south block locations, you'll see artwork by them and each store, the stores mural is a little bit different and depending on on what we think the theme for that community should be. So I don't know, I would say. I would say, if I had to pick, like the work that Mas Pause and Shay love does do, and especially like you, know, I love the art they're doing in my stores, like when I walk into the store, I love it because it immediately makes you feel awesome, like you have this original piece of art right there. So I don't know if I'm answer your questions, but I would say one of them, one of one of the one of them is the local is the local art that you see on these murals and for me in particularly, the style of these murals that we're putting in on the walls and south block that Shay love and and MOS PAS have been doing for us really inspire me and I hope it inspires other people who walk into the stores as well. Let's see, also, I say it, for me, Andy Warhol really really inspires me because I think his pop art and his kind of like graphic design background with with pop art, like really showing how marketing and art can coexist right. And so I try to put that creativeness in everything that we do, like if we're going to we're going to come up with a new design for an sae bowl or a store or or whatever. Like you know, I started getting excited about instagram in the early days because it was a visual thing, a creative thing, like something you could actually see and and and have creativeness behind. So Andy Warhol, for me has been an inspiration because because of how you could kind of kind of shows that you could marry pop culture and art with business, with marketing, and I'm all like Pas I've always tried to incorporate my my love for art and the arts with with our business. So let's see, that's kind of to right. Yeah, let's see the third one. You know, something that I thought was really cool in the world of art was winwood walls down in Miami. I don't know if you've ever seen that, but it's it's an area down in Miami that kind of is a is a showcase of different local artists that they kind of get a get a piece of a wall or a wall where they create a piece of art. And I was any time I travel to a different city I dragged my my family to different juice bars and there was when we were in Miami. We actually had went on a cruise and then our flight got delayed and we had a few hours. I said I really want to go to winwood walls and check out the art down there. But not only that, there's a juice bar there that that that I had admired and followed on on instagram called who go fresh who? They're not in business anymore, unfortunately, but you know, I thought that was a really cool experience for me because like kind of in this oasis of windwood walls and all this local art was as cool creative juice bar. So yeah, I just think, I just think there's so much room for creativeness and art in the world of business. That I think really allows you to give people certain experience but also could immediately like give people a sense of of what you're about in your culture, like who you are as a company. So I really try to use art to kind of express the culture of our company and who we are. That's awesome. I like the windwood walls as well. I went to school in Miami, so I am familiar. Well, yeah, okay, well, I wasn't sure you know what I was talking about. Okay, yeah, there's a there was a park in Austin that was similar. That still exists, but it used to be closer to where I am and now it's kind of it got moved out out on the outskirts of town, but similar sort of thing of just like you know,...

...a big old wall where artists can come and kind of each get a little section of it, although I would argue that winwood seems a little more of planned is the right word, but like people seem a little more deliberate with what they're creating on there, whereas the Austin one. There's certainly some great art on there, but it's also people who are just like I'm just going to like spray some squiggly lines up here and call it a day, which is is great and its own right too, but maybe a little less esthetically pleasing sometimes. But yeah, but hey, I mean it's a it's a great experience for sure. Yeah, yeah, having like just a creative outlet I think is important. Absolutely. Well, I'm merry almost off the hook here, but if people want to learn more about you, are about South Block, where can they go? Cool, yeah, so are, like I said, our instagram as as at South Block. So you thhblock, you can find us our online south block juicecom. I have an Instagram, but I don't do a whole, a whole bunch with it, but if every once in a while I might, I might post post something with some behind the scenes business stuff, and that's at a mirror. Most a MIRMST. You know, I really do try to. It's weird because in a lot of ways I feel like I'm a new I'm a new business and a new entrepreneur and and I'm still learning. And I think it's important, no matter how long you've been in business, that you're you're you're still learning and you're still you. You don't have this mindset that you know everything. But I think it's also important that you share things that experiences you have and things that you've learned and and picked up along the way so that we can all kind of like figure figure things out together and pull inspiration from each other. So I really try to like share things that I've learned and maybe it'll help someone, maybe it won't, but you know, I think it's important for us to know and in the business business world can be sometimes, when you have your own small business, sometimes you can be you can feel isolated, and you know what that was one big change for me is going from a corporate world you of all these coworkers, to like being on your own and not having co worker is to balance ideas off of, and so that's been really fun for me as we've grown as having support team around me of people that we share similar values and and and aspirations and that we can like now talk and bounce ideas off of each other. So I think it's important for for entrepreneurs to kind of, you know, share ideas with each other and realize that they were better. We're better together and, you know, I think I think it's important to have to always have that mindset of like, I'm still learning and and my like. I think one of the things that's kept south block fresh for all this time is, you know, I love the idea of having a business it's been around, and that's been around in some fashion, south block in particular, since two thousand and eleven nine years. But for many people they're just learning about our company and they've never heard of it before and they're just discovering us. I think the longer you can you that we can, we can, we can achieve that, the better. Like I love that people are still discovering us and think that we just started and there were a new business. I think the longer you can keep that sense of like start up mentality, of that excitement. You know, I've brought a lot of people to my company and we've had this approach of like slow and steady growth because, and it's been intentional, slow, steady community growth, because we we think that what makes us specialist is our quality of product, our culture and our connection with the community and if we lose that, then that's we're going to we could potentially lose what makes us special and I think you've seen some businesses and you know I caution businesses as they're growing. Don't just raise money because you can, don't just open stores because you can. You got to think about the decisions you're making and is it going to affect what makes you special as as a business, as a place to work, as a place for customers to visit? And so you know, I've had a lot of people who've come to work for for me South Block from other brands who have had it's the same story of like it used to be a great place to work, but then they started growing and then the culture started dying and then the products started getting worse and then they went out of business, you know, or whatever the case is. And so I've learned from those lessons that I've seen and heard from people around me...

...and said, okay, our goal is, how do we make this like when I hire you, I want you and I don't want you in five years to be talking to someone else saying, Hey, south block used to be a great place, but now it's not so much. You know, I want to create this. It's kind of this this awesome experience, runs experiment of like how long can we still be this exciting young company? You know, even twenty years from now, I'd still love to be an exciting young company that's new to a lot of people, that's fresh, you know. So it makes it exciting for me. Is it as a business owner to like have have a fresh company? But I think it keeps it keeps it exciting for the people who work for the company and the people who visit your company or partied experience. So the longer you can maintain that, I think, the more exciting, the better it is for your business. Boom, well, a mare, you have certainly made me feel awesome and I imagine a lot of our listeners as well. So thank you so much for taking the time to chat. Absolutely thanks so much for having me. You stay safe out there and you know, just like I just like I said, just remember, remember, there's always hope and opportunity out there. So we just got to look forward to that. And always a Corny joke at the end of every good people, cool things episode, and hopefully this one's a little topical since it's juice themed. But okay, why did the sick vampire refuses orange juice? Why? Because he prefers neck to reins. Good after it today, pose all right,.

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