Smoothie Operator: Unbiased Blender Bringing Healthy Foods To The Streets

NEW ORLEANS — Good foodstuff and tunes are staples of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Unfortunately, that meals normally comes in the variety of seafood, gumbo, jambalaya, king cake and beignets — goods that make your style buds satisfied and your waistline broaden.

Nevertheless, 5th Ward native Domonique “Dinero” Meyers presents a tasty substitute to the city’s popular, but from time to time greasy fare. His Ascent Blends brand of natural smoothies experienced a modest commence on the sidewalks of New Orleans, just a blender and natural and organic fruits.

His efforts at healthier residing did not go unnoticed — he lately secured a distribution deal with Rouses Markets that will soon see his smoothies and ginger photographs on its retail outlet shelves. (Rouses begun in Houma, Louisiana, extra than 40 several years ago and is just one of the greatest independent grocers in the U.S.)

Meyers — who prefers to go by Dinero — understands that well being is wealth and hopes his Ascent Blends will make a much healthier town. He just lately talked with Zenger Information about the good results of his corporation, how the Rouses offer came to fruition and considerably extra.

Percy Crawford interviewed Domonique “Dinero” Meyers for Zenger Information.


Dinero accomplishing a single of his exercises. (Courtesy of Dinero Meyers)

Zenger: Explain to us about the identify of your firm and the mission at the rear of it. 

Dinero: It is Ascent Blends almost everything is handcrafted, manufactured contemporary each day. We’re your soar-get started to becoming much healthier. We are community-pushed, and we care about your health and fitness.

Zenger: From what I realize, you were being earning smoothies in the hood and that turned into something massive. How did it get started?


Percy Crawford interviewed Domonique “Dinero” Meyers for Zenger News. (Heidi Malone/Zenger

Dinero: Currently being mindful of my eating plan around the years, I begun this organization in July 2016. So, 5 many years back, I was riding on a pink scooter in my community, the 5th Ward. And I see a constructing that utilized to fix motorbikes and scooters for lease. I said: “This could be a smoothie business suitable listed here.”

I attained out, talked to the operator and the quantities ended up fantastic. But I truly wasn’t prepared to start a business enterprise there. I had under no circumstances even produced a smoothie to offer. The notion just kind of sparked. I worked at a nonprofit, so I requested a few people there what I need to do. They mentioned: “Well, if you cannot get the building, just get begun by location up a stand at the barbershop in the community.” And that’s what I did.

They also instructed me to get high quality components. I required to make certain my smoothies are healthful. I wound up applying non-dairy agave, which is better than sugar.

I began offering smoothies at the barbershop. They had been an instantaneous hit. I was out there 24/7, all around the metropolis. I would have the complete sidewalk lined up with people seeking smoothies, which weren’t obtainable any place else. We didn’t have any healthful alternatives there — the 5th Ward is crammed with liquor suppliers and fried meals.

I was working out each day on the sidewalk, men and women were being joining in with me, and I also commenced working and executing 5K runs. We are unquestionably about health and fitness education and informing all of our customers, leaving them with literature and inspiration on shifting their life style. It is much more than just a smoothie.

Zenger: Was it challenging to get these healthy smoothies to acquire off in a metropolis not recognised for possessing healthy dining alternatives? 

Dinero: it was a little bit complicated, but it wasn’t difficult. About three or 4 decades back, points have been shifting in the town. You commenced looking at some more healthy possibilities occur all around. I assume that I had a great deal to do with people today staying able to have entry to that sort of product. It allows that my smoothies definitely taste great. I’ve experienced individuals on the lookout at my inexperienced smoothie like:“Man, that issue likely preferences horrible.” Continue to keep in mind, I’m working with the hood, so it was straight like that. It was: “Ugh, I never want that inexperienced a single, give me the pink 1.” But then they would style the eco-friendly 1 and locate out it’s amazing.

I in fact shook the lifestyle from understanding that appears can be deceiving when it will come to points like a healthful smoothie. You have to give factors a try.

Dinero at operate on the streets of his hometown, New Orleans. (Courtesy of Dinero Meyers) 

Zenger: How did the deal with Rouses come about? 

Dinero: Just one of my homies experienced a meeting with Rouses about figuring out how to do a little something collectively. He brought in a handful of people who had firms presently, from the farmers to people who cooked to merchandise. He stated he wished to do a vendor sector each and every week or some thing like that at Rouses. So, I took the assembly. I’m community-primarily based, and there ended up a lot of things at stake, as far as them righting their wrongs. So, if they ended up inclined to do the undoing, I’m with it.

That was my total pitch in the conference. This is not just about me. It is about making options for careers. It was a decision I had to make for myself and many others. We are about four or 5 months in now, and each and every Saturday, we do the market place at Rouses on Tchoupitoulas. And extremely quickly, they will have my clean-pressed juices and ginger pictures on the shelf in their CBD [Central Business District] location.

(Edited by Matthew B. Hall and Fern Siegel)

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