By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
Prince George’s County educator Victorious Hall labels himself as “the guy with the spandex.” He’s an avid cyclist, and some of his favorite places to visit are smoothie shops. However, he noticed that many of the local smoothie locations were putting added sugar and syrups into their products, which reduced their nutritional value.
Rather than give up the frozen treat, Hall decided he would open his own store that would sell whole-fruit smoothies without the extra sugar while also providing employment opportunities to his local community.
“It became real when I said, ‘I’m going to open up a smoothie shop in my county, to celebrate my county and to also employ my former students,” said Hall.
In March 2020, he opened Spizzy in Camp Springs, Maryland amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Hall quickly moved his operations online and created an app for Spizzy customers to use. Knowing that stay-at-home orders would cause more people to spend their time on social media, he also doubled-down on Spizzy’s digital marketing.
Hall’s efforts proved advantageous to the shop and have now allowed him to open a second store in Brandywine, Maryland. Aside from the smoothies, which are named after cities in Prince George’s county, Spizzy serves assorted iced and hot teas, superfood bowls, milkshakes and Caribbean patties.
“My main thing is I’m trying to build the business so that all of my employees have a livable wage,” said Hall. “That’s my main goal, so as long as I continue to see traction and continue to see growth in that way, I feel like the business is growing.”
As someone who has primarily worked as an educator, the transition into entrepreneurship was a learning experience for Hall. He said he was forced to trust himself and his community in ways he had not before.
After writing a business plan for Spizzy, he went to banks looking for capital only to be turned down. He worked multiple jobs to save money for the launch of the shop. Once Spizzy was finally open to the public, he was able to leverage his skills from being a former assistant principal to manage the business’ budget and staff.
Spizzy’s newest location is bigger than the first, and Hall intends to host book signings and other community events in the space. He also hopes his shop can serve as a model for how other entrepreneurs should treat their employees.
“I’ve always wanted to open up a store that I wanted to frequent, that I wanted for me when I was a child, so that’s been the most amazing thing in the world to me,” said Hall.
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