Charmin Harvey kept hearing the same complaint from her fellow Troy University students: why doesn’t Troy, Alabama, have a restaurant focusing on smoothies?
In the fall of 2019, her senior year, Harvey decided to tackle that problem head-on, creating Sherman’s Smoothie Café, a place where TROY students and Troy residents alike can buy homemade fruit smoothies, juice and a variety of sandwiches and pastries.
“I came here in 2018, and I became tired of working at a fast food job,” said Harvey, a criminal justice major who expects to graduate this summer. “I’m also a personal trainer, and I kept hearing people say they were tired of going to Montgomery or Dothan (for good smoothies), so I put all of the things I love to do in one business – selling smoothies, bagel sandwiches, soups and things like that. I’m from a small town in Georgia, and my family are entrepreneurs, so I guess it runs in the family.”
Balancing her school work with a fulltime job is nothing new for Harvey.
“I’m used to working and going to school,” she said. “I’d feel crazy or out of place if I wasn’t doing something else while going to school.”
She named the café in honor of her father, a moving company owner who died in 2016 due to cancer.
“He had his own business, and I decided to name this after him because he was an entrepreneur,” Harvey said, adding that her father never saw her as a business owner. “He always talked about school, school, school, because he didn’t know how to read. Back in that time, it as all about working and trying to get money for your family. He knew how to do everything, but he couldn’t read, and all he talked about was me going to school and getting an education. I think this would’ve surprised him.”
After going through the hard work of finding the right building, establishing a menu and finding vendors, Harvey began actively promoting the café through social media.
She posts daily Facebook updates to the café’s page, advertising specials, new additions and recipes in addition to answering patrons’ questions.
While the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed life for everyone, Harvey said her shop has been able to maintain relatively normal business.
“Before the virus started, people were starting to warm up to me, and it takes a while to warm up to new businesses,” she said. “It was starting to pick up before the virus came. Now students aren’t here, but I’ve been promoting and getting my name out there, and I still see new customers. They still come in and get things to go.”
Troy residents looking to enjoy some of Sherman’s Smoothie Café’s products can reach out through the Facebook page for advance orders and pick them up at 203 Love St. in downtown Troy.
As for the future, Harvey plans to pursue a career in criminal justice while possibly opening up more Sherman’s cafes.
“I’m going to try and find a job in my field, keep this business running and hopefully open up some more wherever I go,” she said.