Scott and Calysta Webb long dreamed of running a business.
Originally, they were planning to open a coffee shop, but when they arrived on Whidbey Island a year ago, they noticed the plethora of coffee establishments.
The couple shifted gears.
“My first thought when I came here was, ‘Wow, there’s no smoothies anywhere,’” Calysta said. “We decided to corner the market because we wanted it to be successful and we wanted people to be happy about it.”
From that revelation, the Berry Bar was opened on July 4 in the Old Town Mall in downtown Oak Harbor. The opening line of customers was small, mostly friends and family. It wasn’t until a post about the nascent enterprise appeared on a social media page that business began to take off.
The week after opening, Berry Bar had a line of customers leading outside the shopping complex.
“We ran out of stock within three-and-a-half to four hours that day,” Calysta said.
Because of COVID-19, maintaining a supply of fruit is one of their biggest challenges so far for the new business.
Recently, Scott said he had to drive to Burlington to buy strawberries and chocolate.
“I feel bad because I bought almost every strawberry on the island,” Scott said.
He added that, because of the pandemic, the rules for what businesses may allow are frequently changing.
Another issue they’re facing is a lack of signage.
“We’re still working on getting a sign,” Calysta said. “Because everything is shut down right now, we can’t really find anyone to build it for us.”
In the future, Calysta said she wants the smoothie bar to be a place where people can come and relax. She plans to line one of the walls with books and have a giant chalkboard. She is also working on getting a flash for her Polaroid camera so customers can take pictures and place them on a cork board that hangs in a corner of the shop.
Next month, the smoothie bar will host a raffle so that a customer can design a smoothie of the month and name it after themselves.
The smoothie of the month for July was designed by their daughter, Sophia, and bears her name. The concoction has banana, lime sherbet, vanilla frozen yogurt and apple juice.
Calysta said she comes up with many of the menu items in her head, but the smoothie bar also offers a build-your-own option.
Because there have been complaints that employees of Berry Bar have been seen working without masks, the couple addressed the issue.
Calysta explained that she has a medical condition that makes it hard to breath in a mask, so admittedly doesn’t wear one all of the time. She said she will wear a mask if a customer asks. She added she is ordering a new mask that is more breathable.
Scott, who does wears a mask, said they are working with Island County Public Health on the exemptions, which he said are legitimate.