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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Shake Smart is located adjacent to the Aztec Recreation Center and Viejas Arena Shake Smart is located adjacent to the Aztec Recreation Center and Viejas Arena

Student Entrepreneurs Get Shaking

Created by two business students, Shake Smart is the first permanent, student-run business on campus.
By Suzanne Finch

If you use the Aztec Recreation Center or visited Viejas Arena within the past year, you’ve probably seen a food stand selling protein shakes and smoothies. This small stand, Shake Smart, has made a big impact on the history of the SDSU campus — it is the first-ever permanent student-run business at SDSU.

From fitness to business

Shake Smart was opened on Jan. 3, 2011, by SDSU business students Kevin Gelfand of Santa Clarita, Calif., and Martin Reiman of Harrington Park, New Jersey. They were the first business on the site, which is just steps from the front door of the ARC and faces Viejas Arena and the old Aztec Bowl.

The business started when Gelfand, who worked out regularly at the ARC, started commuting from Pacific Beach to campus.

“I realized that it took a little over 30 minutes to get from campus to home,” he said. “It is essential to get protein within a half an hour of a workout and I wasn’t getting home in time to make my protein shake. I knew I wasn’t the only one in this predicament, so I came up with the idea of a protein shake shop that resolved that issue. Not only would the shakes be nutritious, but affordable and delicious.”

Gelfand enlisted help from fellow fitness enthusiast, Reiman, and both raised the capital from their savings and other resources. They sought and got approval from Aztec Shops, the organization that manages all food concessions at SDSU, to establish their business and Shake Smart was born.

Focusing on the product

Shake Smart differs from juice bars or smoothie shops because of the ingredients in their product.

“Instead of 10 smoothies and two protein shakes, we offer two smoothies and 10 protein shakes,” Gelfand said.

Putting the right formulas together was critical to the success of Shake Smart. 

“Both of us are interested in health and nutrition, so we’ve done a lot of research on what is good and what is not so good to eat,” Gelfand said. “Our focus is to keep everything low-sugar, low-calorie and high in protein, which gives you more of a meal replacement than a smoothie to supplement your lunch.”

Gelfand and Reiman recently got a major boost to their business when SDSU added Shake Smart to the student meal plans. This means that any student purchasing the campus meal plan can use their SDSU Red I.D. to buy a shake, which has enhanced student-customer satisfaction and has resulted in additional sales.

Working toward the future

Their dedication and innovation are paying off in other ways as well: Gelfand and Reiman entered the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition where they won their local, then regional, divisions. They are now entered to win the Western U.S. competition in Los Angeles on Oct. 12. A win in L.A. will make them eligible for the Global Finals in New York next month.

Shake Smart won’t always be a student-owned business.  Gelfand, who graduates in December 2011 with a management/entrepreneurship degree, and Reiman, graduating in May 2011 with a degree in integrated marketing communications, will continue with the business after they leave SDSU, but they already have a plan to sustain and grow the business. At this writing, they have targeted 15 campuses for potential Shake Smart locations. 

They hope to open the next Shake Smart in January 2012.