Member of the Month: Rush Bowls Arvada

June 27, 2024
Photos by Haylie Kendrick, Arvada Chamber Marketing Intern

By Ryan Hecht, Arvada Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director, and Haylie Kendrick, Arvada Chamber Marketing Intern

In November 2023, Lisa and Kevin Kerns opened Rush Bowls in Arvada, not only to provide a healthy, refreshing food option but also to give back to their community.

“For our grand opening, we partnered with Excalibur Outreach, a local charity whose focus is to serve the underserved in our community,” said Lisa. “We sponsored the Pomona High School Instrumental Music Program and have plans to partner with our local schools for fundraising and sponsoring live events.”

“We have lived in Arvada for 21 years, our children go to Arvada schools, and now we are proud to own a business in Arvada. At the northwest corner of 80th and Wadsworth, King Soopers Marketplace is a hub for Arvada families. Arvada is an amazing community and they have welcomed us with open arms.”

Ryan Hecht: How did you get started with Rush Bowls?

Lisa: I was a stay-at-home parent for 15 years while my husband, Kevin, worked at his successful residential appraising company. Since our children were getting older, I felt an urge to do something outside of the home. Our plan was for me to get my appraisal license and work with my husband. I started training, but I was dragging my feet. My heart was not in appraising. It was then that I realized I needed to find something that I was passionate about.

A friend shared about a smoothie bowl shop she’d fallen in love with. I had my first Rush Bowl and was hooked. Blended fruits and vegetables, completely customizable for any preference or dietary need. They were delicious, healthy, and filling. I had gone to culinary school in Denver at the Colorado Institute of Art in the early 2000’s. I spent most of my 20’s working in the food industry, both front and back of house. I have a long-time love for food and health. Could I own my store? Was this possible?

I shared my ideas with Kevin and he was immediately on board. Through our 23-year marriage, we were no stranger to challenges. But this would be one of the biggest and most exciting we had ever taken on.

What is unique about Rush Bowls?

Lisa: I am most proud that our bowls and smoothies are nothing but real fruit and veggies blended fresh. We use no premade scoop-able products. No guars, gums, fillers, stabilizers or emulsifiers. Because we have these standards all of our bowls can be customizable to any taste or dietary need and it really sets us apart from the rest.

How big is your team?

Lisa: Rush Bowls Arvada is a family-owned and operated store. I work the store full-time as the manager and both of our kids work regularly. A fun new change is that our family of four— myself, Kevin, and our children, Carrie and Austin — work together on Sundays from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Come by on a Sunday to say hi!

In addition to our family, we have a staff of eight incredible people. I was nervous before I opened my store, often hearing that staffing would be my biggest challenge. I did over-hire initially, knowing that not everyone would work out. But seven months in, I feel truly blessed, because this team is rock solid. Not only do they have spot on work ethics, but they hold the values that I envisioned for my store; kindness, authentic experiences, honesty, and accuracy. And when we get a rush, the speed and flow at which we work is incredible to watch.

How do you instill your team values?

Lisa: I think a lot of it comes from me showing up daily. I over-hired at first and had to let go of those who didn’t embody those values. Once I did that, our team became more solid and tighter. Being here consistently sets an example for everyone. Kevin and I both lead by example. Our customers aren’t just customers; we get to know their names and their lives. Our team sees that and creates their own relationships too.

Some employees work only one or two shifts a week and struggle to keep up with changes. Now, most of our employees work about 25 to 38 hours a week, which is important when things are constantly changing. It’s about maintaining that personal touch and building a community.

What’s a surprising benefit or something you learned from working with your family?

As a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, I didn’t know what I was going to do when my kids grew up. I feel proud that my kids have seen me build this business and be as successful as it is. Kevin and I have been married for 23 years and work well as a team, which has translated to working with our kids. Our daughter, Carrie, is 16 and works in the store a lot, while our son, Austin, who is 12, is still learning but works once a week.

I believe in letting my kids experience the consequences of their actions. Mistakes are learning moments, and I rarely shield them from discipline. It’s important for them to learn these lessons early.

Haylie Kendrick: What have you learned about marketing and promoting your business?

Lisa: We were told by corporate to talk to everybody. So from the moment we decided to open Rush Bowls Arvada, Kevin went around and talked to everyone. It didn’t matter if we were at local businesses, the dentist, or getting our dog groomed. We told everyone what we were doing and gave them coupons. We started this months before opening, which I think really helped our grand opening, which was a week before Thanksgiving. It was cold, and we were selling a frozen product, but we had a line out the door from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. A lot of that was because he was the one talking it up.

That’s why he’s in charge of marketing, like catering vendor shows. I always have him there because I’m a bit introverted. This is my home, so I’m comfortable here, but he’s great with people outside the shop and getting them in. Learning how to do social media has been hard, and we’re lucky that corporate does a lot of national advertising. Local marketing has been a learning process. I try different things to see if they work, but it’s hard to know the return on investment. Collaboration with other businesses has also been important. We partnered with Camp Bow Wow, so every time we sell a Bow Wow Bowl the customer also receives a free day of doggy day care, and when Camp Bow wow gets a new client, they hand out a coupon for a free Bow Wow Bowl, which brings them here.

Kevin: We focus on getting people in the store. At vendor shows, we don’t sell anything because our products would melt over five hours. We give away rush bites and have people spin a wheel for coupons. It’s all about driving people in because once they come in, they get hooked on the bowls. We’re excited for the Taste of Arvada event, where we’ll give out 3 oz samples to get people interested enough to become customers.

As a first-time vendor at Taste of Arvada, what else are you excited about with the event?

Lisa: We’re excited because it’s our first time attending the Taste of Arvada. We’ve been told to have 800 to 900 samples prepared, which is mind-boggling for a three-hour period. Normally at events, vendor shows involve a lot of standing around, but this will be a completely new experience. We are learning how to serve samples over an extended period of time. We make our own Rush Bites and hand those out as samples. They’re delicious and perfect for a refreshing option in the middle of summer.

Kevin: We’re also big foodies, and we’re excited to be participants and try out other food.

Haylie: What have you found most valuable as a member of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce?

Lisa: After being open for seven months, I now know the importance of community support and utilizing the resources available. Before I joined the Arvada Chamber of Commerce I was white-knuckling it. As a new business owner, I wish I had made these connections sooner. The Chamber offers many resources and opportunities and has helped me problem solve many challenges.

Through the Chamber, I was introduced to other Arvada business owners. When I needed a CPA, I met an incredible one at a new member meeting. I am continually inspired by the talent and drive of other Arvada business owners and it’s been so much fun to collaborate and support each other all while better serving our community. Seeing this happen in real time has been incredible. It’s been overwhelming, learning everything for the first time, running payroll, doing the scheduling, and managing the team. I wanted this place to have a certain vibe and be run the way I wanted, with a mom-and-pop feel, not a cookie-cutter approach.

What creative liberties can you take with this franchise?

Lisa: As a franchise, we get the flexibility to make it our own. I chose Rush Bowls because corporate is local (based in Boulder) and I fell in love with them. They’re young, forward-thinking, and not restrictive. They have a foundation for us, but we don’t have to use any specific vendors. I chose every piece of equipment in the shop and got approval for layout and colors. Corporate was flexible with things, and we use their recipes and logo.

What is your favorite business book, podcast or news resource?

Lisa: I’m currently reading, “Who Not How” by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, a book recommended by fellow Arvada business owner Madison Heard of Fit Body Boot Camp. This book expands on what I have been naturally learning as a new business owner. I cannot do everything alone. I must find a support system that can help me achieve my goals all while enriching my community. So far my favorite quote is, “Results, not effort is the name of the game. You are rewarded in life by the results you produce, not the effort and time you put in.” This resonated with me when reflecting on when I conceptualized my store. Work smarter, not harder. And smarter is often asking for help.

Do you have an example of when you should have asked for help sooner as a business owner?

Lisa: One example that stands out is a meeting I had with Arvada Economic Development Association. They connected me to resources and other businesses I didn’t know about. I mentally kicked myself for not utilizing these connections earlier.

What have you learned as an entrepreneur in Arvada?

Lisa: I am a first-time business owner and an introvert. There were plenty of times during the planning phase where I would question if this was the right choice for me. This was a leap of faith. Since the store opened, I have been in awe of my staff and customers. Real connections are made in my store. I love seeing a regular come in. We know their name, their order and can share our lives with each other. These relationships are so fulfilling to me. And I know, in the busy, messy, digital-age that we live in, people value the authentic connection they experience in our store all while picking up a smoothie to-go.

Rush Bowls Arvada

8031 Wadsworth Blvd unit a5, Arvada, CO 80003
Monday-Sunday, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Phone: (720) 823-8484


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