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Sip De Soleil Offers a Healthy Alternative

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Story and photo by Matt Weingarden
Staff Reporter
Published Thursday, August 24, 2017

Cherry Bomb, ChocoLIT D-Lite and Takes 2 to Mango are just three of the tasty smoothie options available at Belle River new business upstart Sip De Soleil.

With the help of the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre, Rachel Barrette, a University of Windsor psychology student opened up Sip De Soleil smoothie stand this summer in response to a lack of healthy drink options in her neighbourhood.

“Belle River has been a very up and coming little town. Slowly the beach is becoming beautiful and the marina is hopping,” said Barrett, 21. “I what I figured was missing was a healthy alternative to a smoothie shop – so I decided to open one. It’s been really successful so far.”

Sip De Soleil is located at 643 Notre Dame St. In Belle River. Customers are encouraged to walk up to the beachside stand and grab healthy, vegan smoothies.

Clients like Barrette (one of 18) are currently participating in the Summer Company Student Entrepreneur Program through the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre. They receive training, mentorship and $3,000 to start up a summer business.

“We get a lot of help with things like marketing. There is so much more to staring a business than you realize. It’s very much a process,” said Barrette. “Summer Company classes provide a big support for me. I find leaving the centre – I’m always very uplifted and inspired. I get to connect with the other entrepreneurs that are likeminded and excited like me.”

In order to qualify for the program she had to create a business and financial plan. Then she needed to find a location and renovate the space to fit her needs.

What separates her product from other similar ventures? Barrette says it’s the ingredients that she uses.

“Everything is plant based - fresh fruits – I don’t use any dairy – I use almond and coconut milk,” she added. “So if you are vegan or lactose intolerant it’s a perfect alternative.”

Although she will close for the season after Labour Day, she plans to open the business up again next summer.

“This is a great opportunity for active students aged 15 to 29 to try entrepreneurship and start up a small business,” said Myrtle Donnipad, Advisor for Youth and Entrepreneurship Programs. “It presents an alternative to working a summer job as opposed to owning your own business.”

Donnipad says that small business is the backbone of the community and quite often students are not aware of the types of opportunities available to them through these types of programs.

“We like to show students that there is alternative opportunities available to them,” said Donnipad. “We are already planning for next year. The applications open up in January and close in late March and early April.”