PHOTO: Thirsty Coconut founder Luke Einsel demonstrates his smoothie machines for commercial use in a company video.
Thirsty Coconut becomes member of South KC Chamber
By John Sharp
Thirsty Coconut, a company that supplies the ingredients and the equipment for making healthy smoothies and frozen drink products to food service programs in numerous states celebrated the ribbon cutting at its expanded facility at 15303 Westover Rd. at the former Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base on July 24.
The company started operating from a one-car garage in Overland Park in 2012, moved to a two-car garage in 2014 while leasing additional storage space and then moved to a 5,000 square foot building in Louisburg, KS, in 2016 before it outgrew that facility too, according to Luke Einsel, company president and founder.
Its new facility contains about 18,000 square feet of space and will give it adequate room for further expansion, Einsel said. He noted the company also recently acquired a 6,500 square foot facility in Phoenix where it bought a competitor.
Einsel said Thirsty Coconut supplies its customers with about 40 different flavors of shelf stable bottled fruit concentrate made from fresh fruit with minimum artificial ingredients and little or no added sugar and premium drink mixes made with real fruit.
Its main beverage product, Juice Alive, is made with 100 percent fruit juice and is sold by the case to schools and other clients.
Thirsty Coconut also provides frozen drink machines and similar equipment to its customers. He said about 90 percent of the company’s clients are schools or school districts including the Lee’s Summit, Liberty, Platte City and Raymore-Peculiar school districts in the metropolitan area. It currently has over 600 schools as customers, and that portion of its business is expanding rapidly.
Other customers include businesses, health clubs, hospitals, nursing homes and restaurants.
Besides supplying the ingredients and the drink mixing and dispensing machines, Thirsty Coconut prides itself on its customer service and works with its customers to start new beverage programs and to set up and properly operate its machines. It is in the process of adding additional sales and service personnel in other cities where its customer base is growing.
The company is leasing its new facility from Port KC which now owns and manages much of the former air force base. James Mulick, Port KC development finance and asset manager who oversees the agency’s real estate assets, said its property at Richards-Gebaur is now about 88 percent leased.