After many years of working in “corporate America,” husband and wife team Sandi and Brian Royes made the decision last year to be their own bosses.
They have opened Kalethy Living, 4719 New Centre Drive, Unit D, featuring all-natural smoothies, smoothie bowls, acai bowls, and toasts topped with item such as apple butter and granola, strawberries and dark chocolate and peanut butter and bananas.
Brian Royes said that when the company he and Sandi previously worked for began making managerial changes that impacted their family, which includes a 15-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they knew the time had come to make the break.
“When new management came in and erased everyone’s planned PTO (paid time off), that really lit a fire in us,” Brian Royes said.
Prior to that, Brian Royes said he and Sandi had brainstormed ideas for their own business for years. While Sandi made smoothies at home almost daily, it wasn’t until they were determined to leave their jobs that the idea came to them.
Once the seed for Kalethy Living was planted, they began researching what they needed to do to build a business plan, secure a loan and a location and comply with health department regulations.
Brian Royes said opening during the coronavirus crisis has been difficult, but he believes that it has helped to establish a culture of care and concern at Kalethy Living that will carry over beyond the pandemic.
“We’re blessed to be opening at this time, because not only do we have the normal health department regulations to guide us, but we know how to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe and that is something that will stick with us going forward and help us create a culture of cleanliness,” Brian Royes said.
The establishment also serves Costa Rican coffee, hot or cold-brewed, with 100% Arabica beans. The menu is dairy-free and nearly everything, with the exception of one granola that contains honey, is vegan.
“We cut all our own fruit and freeze it,” Brian Royes said. “Nothing is artificially sweetened, and the only added sweeteners we use are honey or agave syrup.”
The African American-owned business offers a 15% discount to all teachers, military personnel, medical personnel and first responders.
They also offer a smoothie punch card, featuring a buy four, get one free promotion. Orders can be placed and paid for online and are available for dine-in, carryout or curbside pickup.
Kalethy Living is currently open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Hours are expected to expand in the future, though Brian Royes said he intends to remain closed on Sunday.
“That has a lot do with the freedom we’re looking for as a family,” he said.
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