When the heat’s on, nothing quenches your thirst quite like a frosty, cold beverage. But with all the all the sugars and additives out there, who knows where to turn to get a truly nutritious alternative when looking to cool off?
That’s where Maui Wowi comes in. Bellmore residents Paul and Dina Girola bought into the Maui Wowi franchise back in 2007. The business is comprised of Hawaiian-themed tiki bars from which the Girolas peddle delicious fresh fruit smoothies at various events throughout the tri-state area.
Paul Girola recently spoke with Patch about Maui Wowi and how selling smoothies helped his family through some difficult financial times.
Tell us about what Maui Wowi is all about.
Maui Wowi is a business that does street fairs and sporting tournaments where we set up and sell fresh fruit smoothies. Our normal season of the year is from April to October. Also we do private party catering...we go to the house and set up out tiki bar, and make smoothies for the people at the party or the Bar Mitzvah, whatever the case may be.
I understand that Maui Wowi started out as a helpful side business for you during some difficult financial times?
We bought into Maui Wowi in 2007...I was working in Wall Street at the time, and I had a pretty good idea that my job was going to end, and there was a good probability that I was going to get laid off. I was looking for something as a supplement to our income once that job was gone and my wife and I decided this was a good opportunity. We could do this on nights and weekends when we’re not working our full-time jobs and it’s worked out very well.
Other than smoothies, do you offer any other products at your tiki bars?
Well, one thing that most people don’t associate with us right off the bat is that we have a full line of Hawaiian Kona blend coffees as well.
Maui Wowi touts their smoothies as being very healthy. Tell us about the ingredients that go into them.
Well, it has a non-fat yogurt base that we add the fresh fruit puree into, such as strawberries. There’s also some fruit juices added for sweetness. Most of the flavors come with banana added because it makes the smoothie much creamier. The great advantage of this franchise is that the fruit mixes are a top-quality product, and we get rave reviews all the time.
What do you like about owning and operating a business in the Bellmore area?
The best part is being a part of the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce. We had a prime location for the Bellmore Street Fair, which attracts over 100,000 people over the weekend, and it was nice meeting other business owners and helping each other promote our businesses. It’s been a crazy, but fun adventure, and that’s always interesting.